The Washington Post

Libya conflict: Who’s who in the international coalition

Italian Eurofighter jets prepare to land on March 23, 2011 at Trapani-Birgi airbase in Sicily. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

There are currently nine countries involved in the international effort to stop violence against civilians in Libya. The U.S. currently has 42 F-16s and other planes in the region, and France was the first country to launch air strikes in Libya last weekend. Here's a breakdown of who else is involved, with countries ranked by their level of involvement:

Deployment status Aircraft Ships Operating

United States
Enforcing no-fly zone since Saturday
  • 42 F-16s are based in Aviano, Italy.
  • Other planes in the region not disclosed by the Pentagon
  • Three submarines, including attack submarines Newport News and Providence
  • Five combat ships, including at least one guided-missile destroyer
Not released by the Pentagon. Other bases in addition to Italy may be Greece, Spain and Turkey.

Participated in coordinated strike Saturday
  • Tornado GR4 planes, VC10 and Tristar air-to-air refueling aircraft, E-3D Sentry and Sentinel surveillance aircraft
  • Typhoon aircraft standing by
  • One Trafalgar-class submarine
  • Two frigates (the Cumberland and Westminster)
  • Destroyers may be deployed.
Southern Italy

Participated Saturday, expected to resume Tuesday
  • About 20 fighter aircraft, including Rafale warplanes and Mirage fighters
  • At least one AWACS surveillance aircraft
  • Aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, with an additional 20 aircraft
  • An attack submarine
  • Several frigates
  • A refueling ship
Solenzara air base, Corsica

Joined a naval blockade off Libya but has not conducted strikes
  • Deployed six planes over the northern Libyan coast on Monday but did not carry out strikes.
  • Frigate Charlottetown in the Mediterranean
  • One tanker aircraft at Decimomannu air base, Sardinia, Italy
Decimomannu air base, Sardinia, Italy

Ready to participate
  • Dozens of combat aircraft are positioned to take part in operations, including Tornado fighters, F-16s and Eurofighters.
  • 11 combat ships
A NATO base near Naples and seven others -- the Amendola, Gioia del Colle, Sigonella, Aviano, Trapani, Decimomannu and Pantelleria bases -- are available.

Ready to participate
  • Six fighter planes are deployed to Sicily (four waiting U.S. instructions to join operations; two kept in reserve).
None Sigonella air base, Sicily

Ready to participate
  • One tanker plane
  • A maritime patrol aircraft
  • Four F-18 jets
  • One F-100 frigate
  • One submarine
Rota in Cadiz and Moron de la Frontera in Seville are ready for use in Spain.

Planning to participate
  • Six fighters and a cargo plane

Not participating until clear command-and-control strategy has been formed
  • Six fighter planes are in Crete to eventually join the coalition. They are currently grounded.
None Crete

Whoever leads the effort once the U.S. takes a smaller role will have to face a resilient Moammar Gaddafi. As Liz Sly and Greg Jaffe reported for the Post, "Four days of allied strikes have battered­ Gaddafi’s air force and largely destroyed his long-range air defense systems, a top U.S. commander said Tuesday. But there was little evidence yet that the attacks had stopped regime forces from killing civilians or shifted the balance of power in favor of the rebels."

Track the events in Libya and follow all of the Middle East protests with our day by day tracker.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.