US to withdraw warplanes from Libya mission

Brussels – Nato says the US military is pulling its warplanes from front-line missions today and shifting to a support role in the Libyan conflict.

Britain, France and other Nato allies will now provide the fighter and attack jets to conduct intercept and ground attack missions.

The handover is expected to take place late in the day, said a Nato official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of regulations.

Last week, Secretary of Defence Robert Gates told Congress the US will continue to provide assets that others don’t have in sufficient numbers.

These will likely include Airborne Warning and Control System air surveillance planes, electronic reconnaissance aircraft and aerial refuelling tankers.

American air power will still be available to back up the allies in case of need.

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