Hellenic Air Force outlines Libyan Embraer EMB-145H AEW&C operations
Aerospace Forum Sweden 2012: The Hellenic Air Force (HAF) has revealed how its Erieye early warning radar system played a key role during NATO's Unified Protector operations in Libya.
The air arm provided one of its four Embraer EMB-145H AEW&C aircraft equipped with the Saab-designed Erieye radar system to the operations providing radar in 'Joint Operating Area East' - an area nicknamed 'Carlsberg'.
This meant the Erieye watched over and controlled the airspace over the Eastern towns of Benghazi, Sirte and Misrata – towns which were seen as critical at the beginning of the air campaign as it supported anti-Gadaffi forces.
Lt Col George Kouskoutis, the tactical director of 380 AEW&C Squadron – the operating unit for the aircraft – told the Aerospace Forum Sweden 2012 at Malmen AB near Linkoping that the aircraft's capabilities were recognised early on in the campaign.
'We were fully integrated into the operation,' said Kouskoutis, 'We worked with many types of aircraft from many countries as well as AWACS from NATO, the United States, the UK and France.'
As part of the operational plan, the HAF crews also provided critical information to Turkish F-16s supporting the NATO operation.
The aircraft operated from Souda Bay AB on Crete and operated from 27 March to the end of October, flying some 165 sorties and 880 flying hours. As well as providing information to coalition units, the aircraft also sent data back to the NATO operation centres at Naples and Izmir.
In particular the aircraft was recognised for its ability to detect low-flying helicopters operating along the Libyan coast.
According to the HAF officials, the Erieye radar has a special helicopter detection capability which spots the movement of the rotor blades even if the helicopter is hovering or flying very slowly. Sometimes helicopters can get lost in ground clutter or can be filtered out and missed because of their low speeds.
Several helicopters were detected over Libya by the Erieye using this method.
Source: By the Shephard News Team / Tony Osborne in Linkoping, Sweden - 01 June 2012
Photo: The Hellenic Air Force Embraer EMB-145H AEW&C Aircraft (Photo by wikipedia)
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