As it appears that this will be a predominately land-based No Fly Zone - Libya (NFZ-L), we are going to need a lot more of these,
An Air National Guard unit based out of Illinois is heading to Libya to help fight against Colonel Gaddafi.As I've covered here and over at USNIBlog - the distances from land bases to Libya, sit CAP and then return, will require a lot of tanking.
"I am proud that the National Guard is able to play a part in curbing the atrocious violence against Libyan civilians by their own government,” said Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard, in a statement.
The unit based out of Scott Air Force Base in southwest Illinois specializes in refueling aircraft in mid-air and will join the mission to establish a no-fly zone over Libya.
The 126th Air Refueling Wing and its 906th air Refueling Squadron fly the KC-135-R Stratotanker, which is the military version of the Boeing 707.
There are only two ways we can mitigate the tanking requirements. First is what I hope happened; the attacks over the weekend eliminated most of Gadaffi's fixed and rotary wing air. That way, the requirements for aircraft, number wise, will be small. The other is that the rebel forces can with the top-cover advance on Tripoli and end this soon.
It doesn't look like any Carrier air, outside the 35 multirole aircraft on the FS CHARLES DE GAULLE and the USMC Harriers on the USS KEARSARGE will be involved in this ... yet.
If this drags on, then in time I think you will start to see the weak sisters start to peel off. When that happens .... a large deck Carrier gets a lot more handy.