The Libyan Air Force has destroyed a Turkish MIM-23 Hawk air-defense system in al-Watiya Air Base in the western Libya, a source in the Libyan National Army (LNA) told the media on July 5.
According to the source, nine pinpoint airstrikes targeted the Hawk air-defense system and a KORAL electronic warfare system that was stationed nearby.
“We were monitoring the deployment and installation of a Hawk air-defense system along with its attached radars by the Turkish occupation for the last few days,” the source told Libya al-Hadath, adding “today the Turkish Minister of Defense was informed while he was in Misrata that the Uqba bin Nafeh [al-Watiya] base had become ready for use so the LNA decided to destroy it [the system] after it entered service,”
The source went on to claim that the Hawk air-defense system was “100%” destroyed as result of the airstrikes. Large explosions were reported in the base. However, the results of the airstrikes remain uncertain.
The Hawk’s 45 km range makes its lethal for unmanned combat aerial vehicles, which are used by the LNA’s allies. The system was likely deployed to address this threat.
If confirmed, the destruction of the system would be a major blow to Turkey’s plans for Libya. Recent reports revealed that Ankara is working to turn al-Watiya into a permanent base for its troops in the Arab country.