In January USAF launched B-2 bombers in surprise attack to destroy high value targets in Libya. Tyler Rogoway has covered it nicely so if you don’t know about it head there and have a read.
I would like to focus on the “why” part of this whole undertaking as the rest is nothing more as a usual army business. Why would USAF launch it’s most valuable assets to strike some sort of training camp?
The crown jule
There were only 21 B-2’s build out of 165 planned. One has crashed which leaves us with a force of 20 machines. Now that is a very tiny force. Of course not all are operational all the time. This is also normal as every aircraft has to undergo some regular maintenance or upgrade. This leaves us even fewer aircraft which can be used than the starting number of 20.
The B-2 is the cutting edge and until the B-21 Raider shows up it’s position is not threatened by any other asset in the inventory. Why would you use such a machine to destroy a “training camp”. This wasn’t a training camp as we imagine. It was not a regular facility like in western countries with houses, buildings, paved roads, class rooms, training equipment etc. Somewhere on a desert in Libya some rebellion/IS/ISIS/terrorist/DAESH/Taliban you name it (I have lost count) forces have decided to train new recruits and that is why such a massive force had to be unleashed?
Money, money, money
Two were tasked to do the job, and one was sent as spare. Add the refueling component, the whole ground support, the UAVs flying near the camp to gather intelligence for the mission. If we start to add the $ it starts to look like a mountain of money spent on destroying some “tents”.
There are suggestions that this was a training mission to test new equipment or that there was a serious danger of detecting other assets with radars located near by and/or warning the ground troops that something is coming. Or that this was some sort of “Good bye” by Obama just before leaving his office.
If that’s the case we all can sleep well. It looks like USAF and USA still have a stockpile of money if they can push such assets for such targets with such possible reasons.
Although I have to admit that we can only see as much as is shown to us. Maybe there is a second or even third bottom to this story which would make it more meaningful.
What do you think?