Aircraft from the carrier USS America flew over the Gulf of Sidra north of Libyan leader's Moammar Gadhafi's "line of death" without incident Wednesday, defense officials said yesterday.
The flights in the Mediterranean represent the Reagan administration's decision to keep reminding Gadhafi of the proximity of U.S. military power in hopes of deterring him from sponsoring terrorist acts, officials said. Another purpose of the flights is to reassert the right of the United States to operate in the Gulf of Sidra, they added.
Since the April 15 U.S. raid on Libya, flights over the gulf have been conducted intermittently by U.S. planes without the usual advance notice to Libya or the international aviation community. Gadhafi so far has made no attempt to challenge the flights, officials said.
Navy pilots, officials said, have been flying in a nonprovocative pattern in recent weeks, staying at least 40 miles north of Gadhafi's "line of death" and using a boxlike flight pattern easy to track on Libyan radar. The Pentagon has confirmed that Navy carriers have been operating in international waters off Libya since the bombing raid but have refused comment on reports of flights over the Gulf of Sidra.