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In the late hours of April 10, the Libyan National Army (LNA) announced that it had shot down an IL-39 warplane of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA). According to the LNA media office, the warplane was shot down by the 166th Brigade, when it was flying over the outskirts of the capital Tripoli.
The warplane reportedly took off from Misrata airbase, east of Tripoli. This airbase is the headquarters of the GNA’s air force, which reportedly operates nine IL-39 Albatros trainers / light attack warplanes among other aircraft. According to the available data, the IL-39 was downed with an anti-aircraft gun, such as the ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft twin-barreled autocannon, which is currently actively employed by both sides of the conflict.
Last week, when GNA jets started carrying out strikes on advancing LNA units, the LNA declared a no-fly zone over the western part of the country. Nonetheless, the April 10 incident became the first example of a real action against GNA air power undertaken by LNA forces. The LNA is known to be operating at least one Soviet-made 2K12 Kub medium-range air-defense system, as well as a variety of man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADs). This is far from being enough to impose a real no-fly zone across the region, but LNA units equipped with anti-aircraft gun and MANPADs would pose a significant threat to the small and largely outdated GNA air power.
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Author: South Front