Free Markets, Free People

NATO running out of bombs in Libya

I‘d love to tell you this comes as a surprise, but it doesn’t:

Less than a month into the Libyan conflict, NATO is running short of precision bombs, highlighting the limitations of Britain, France and other European countries in sustaining even a relatively small military action over an extended period of time, according to senior NATO and U.S. officials.

The shortage of European munitions, along with the limited number of aircraft available, has raised doubts among some officials about whether the United States can continue to avoid returning to the air campaign if Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi hangs on to power for several more months.

It helps you understand how incredibly dependent on the US Europe has become. 

A war – a small war – and they run out of precision munitions in a month?

No wonder they’re almost able to pay for socialism (yeah, that’s caught up with them too). 

Frankly, this is unacceptable.  And of course, it will likely mean one thing:

So far, the NATO commander has not requested their deployment. Several U.S. military officials said they anticipated being called back into the fight, although a senior administration official said he expected other countries to announce “in the next few days” that they would contribute aircraft equipped with the laser-guided munitions.

Why?  We have munitions we can give them, right?

Uh, some:

European arsenals of laser-guided bombs, the NATO weapon of choice in the Libyan campaign, have been quickly depleted, officials said. Although the United States has significant stockpiles, its munitions do not fit on the British- and French-made planes that have flown the bulk of the missions.


Britain and France have each contributed about 20 strike aircraft to the campaign. Belgium, Norway, Denmark and Canada have each contributed six — all of them U.S.-manufactured and compatible with U.S. weaponry.

Given this little discovery, I’d guess NATO has some standardization to do?  You know, that’s why we have standard size rounds, artillery shells, etc.

You’d think they’d have thought of this before (and yes, before someone informs me, France is not a member of NATO), wouldn’t you?



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20 Responses to NATO running out of bombs in Libya

  • … and to think this force kept the Soviets out of Europe

    • As more time passes, I am almost convinced an argument could be made that it was the Soviets that kept the Soviets out of Europe.

    • Two groups kept the Soviets out of Europe:

      SAC and the USN fleet ballistic missile submarine force.

      A lot of men and women worked very, very hard for many years, often under hazardous circumstances, to keep a razor-sharp deterent.  That there were never commissars in Bonn, Paris or London speaks to how much their work paid off.

      • Assuming, of course, that the Soviet leadership believed that the US would actually prefer nuclear Armageddon to Soviet occupation of Europe. I agree that the Soviets were probably not detered by NATO conventional forces.

        • Sir Humphrey: With Trident we could obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe!

          Jim Hacker: I don’t want to obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe.

          Sir Humphrey: It’s a deterrent.

          Jim Hacker: It’s a bluff. I probably wouldn’t use it.

          Sir Humphrey: Yes, but they don’t know that you probably wouldn’t.

          Jim Hacker: They probably do.

          Sir Humphrey: Yes, they probably know that you probably wouldn’t. But they can’t certainly know.

          Jim Hacker: They probably certainly know that I probably wouldn’t.

          Sir Humphrey: Yes, but even though they probably certainly know that you probably wouldn’t, they can’t certainly know that although you probably wouldn’t, there is no probability that you certainly would!

          Yes, Prime Minister
          ep. 1: “The Grand Design” (1986); dir. Sydney Lotterby
          spoken by Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington


  • I suppose in the European court of public opinion is beginning to reconsider its opinion of Obama.

    • You have to ask who will learn a lesson out of Libya ?  Will NATO be destroyed or saved ?
      Is Obama trying to show Europe what NATO will be like without the US, so Europe doesn’t abandon Afghanistan ?

      • That is a good question. I’ve always been in McQ’s camp on this too excellent misadventure. I think it is quite clear the Europeans will now finally have to commit to a hard-nosed rere-assessment of their interdependent relationships with regard to defense and the world at large. Certainly, the East Asians have long since repositioned themselves precisely because of the Obama presidency. It is heartening to see the Auzzies act with such maturity in South and SE Asia. But that is a different world, so to speak.
        Is Obama trying to show Europe …?” Nah. Nothin’ of the sort. The only thing the o has demonstrated is the law of unintended consequences. The o heard a call and because he and his team are so immature they saw the kinetic exercise as nothing more than a two pronged ploy: 1) curry favor and above all else 2) turn the action into an advantage for the campaign.
        The real question is not so much NATO because it is in our explicit interest to insure its survival. The real question is inside the European mind. With the exception of the Italians and I suppose Icelanders, I don’t think I have met a single person (not affiliated with the armed forces) who has managed to put WWII behind them. I am fully convinced that is why everyone is running around in a hypocritically pacifist funk, not a peace with their semi-socialist dystopia and still suffering from debilitating nightmares as a result of WWII.

        • I am fully convinced that is why everyone is running around in a hypocritically pacifist funk,
          But is it really a funk ? … or are only Americans too stupid to see who is being had ?
          I posted here not long ago about a guy I knew in college who used to come around every night and get a full explanation of all the difficult homework problems because he acted like Gomer Pyle.  We called him “Gobber.”  Then we found out he was “dean’s list” while the rest of us were struggling.
          The Europeans have been play the US for suckers for over 6 decades, while they show a “funk.”  Yeah. It’s a “funk” alright .. a funk that comes every time they think about the price tag of protecting themselves.  If they can get it on the cheap by faking a “funk” .. why not ?

  • ” its munitions do not fit on the British- and French-made planes”

     For half a century NATO has supposedly been making efforts to have as much commonality of weapons and equipment as possible, for precisely this reason. Many NATO countries use, or have used, American equipment, including combat aircraft. 
    NATO is rapidly becoming a joke. Time for us to get out.

    • Dood, if US weapons fit on French planes, then they could have the option of buying US equipment!
      Non, Non, Non!
      Buy French equipment instead!
      BTW, Libya has 6 million people. 6 million people in a 3rd world country.
      And NATO does not have enough bombs.
      OK, maybe they used them up in Afghanistan…snicker.
      The good news is we could arm Norway, Denmark, and Belgium and roll over France.

  • Actually France is a member of NATO again, it rejoined the integrated command in 2009.

    • And it only took them 10 years after the threat disappeared.

      • Well they had to make sure that the collapse of the Soviet Union wasn’t all some grand German conspiracy to try and invade them *again*.

        But seriously, I think they rejoined at the time when there was a lot of talk about there being a dedicated “EU army” of sorts to carry out these sorts of operations since the mission of NATO was no longer clear (and dominated by those pesky yankees). France no doubt wanted a seat at the big-boys table to ensure they got enough of the command. Seems of course it was mostly talk, if the arsenal was only up to 1 month’s worth of sort-of war with a few planes. Next they’ll be asking the US to pay France and Britain to to produce more bombs that only work on French and British planes.

  • Lesse…which NATO countries make military aircraft competitive with ours?
    I like competition.  But I don’t like competing with people I am supporting with my taxes.
    There is NO excuse…has not been for decades…for the U.S. to defend Europe sans European $$$.

    • We let the Europeans manage their own affairs and withing two decades they ended on World War only to begin another.  Both of which we were sucked into.
      I know they’re suppose to the be the responsible ones and we’re the gung ho irresponsible ones, but nothing could be further from the truth.

    • Oh, they can just pretend it’s a re-do of the Suez incident, pack up their kit bags and berets and call it quits.

    • Meanwhile, somewhere in Berlin…..
      “Ve gave zem ze plans for zee Nord Afrika blitzkrieg campaign ja?  It schould be ober pie now!”
      “Ja Herr General, aber…it scheems zee offensive map ve gave zem vas for overrunning Benghazi und Tobruk und denn der 21st Panzer  schweeping south around zee minefields at al-Alamein and capturing Cairo”.