Libya: Two Aeronautics Orbiter-3 Small Tactical UAS shot down by LNA

Two Isreali-made Small Tactical UAS Orbiter-3 has been shot down in Libya by forces allied with Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) in Southern Tripoli.

One of the Orbiter-3 STUAS crashed in Aziziyeh, just 30km south of Libya's capital Tripoli while the other crashed in Sidra district, on July 20. The two STUAS Orbiter-3 was part of a three-unit donation to the Government Of National Accord (GNA) the United Nation recognized government by Turkey.

According to Libyan sources, the Aeronautics Orbiter-3 STUAS were initially sold to Turkey which then supplied it to the GNA.

According to the manufacturer Aeronautics, the Orbiter-3 STUAS can provide intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions with long endurance. The STUAS can carry payloads up to 5 kg in weight, including multi-sensor stabilized EO payloads carrying laser target-designation systems.

The recent spike in the LNA's ability to shoot down drones might not be unconnected to the fact that a Russian-made Pantsir-S1 air defence system was purportedly supplied to LNA forces fighting in Libya by the United Arab Emirate. In June 2019, photographs of a Pantsir S1 air defence systems was published on social media.

It is believed that UAE supplied this air defence system in order to counter the Turkish-made Bayrakta TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which the forces of the GNA have been used against LNA forces during its recent offensive to capture Tripoli.

During the defence of Tripoli, the GNA recovered a Russian made Orlan-10 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) which was shot down on 30 April.

Also, following the offensive launched by the LNA to seize the capital on April 4, several weapons were looted including SA-7 MANPAD. Previously, the Libyan National Army (LNA) acquired the Iranian made Ghods Mohajer-2 UAV. Pictures of the UAV was taken in an unidentified military base in Libya.

The GNA is currently fighting to prevent the Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) from taking the Libya capital, Tripoli. GNA spokesman Mohanad Younes had told reporters earlier in May that Turkey and other countries would be delivering military and humanitarian assistance. He also revealed that Turkey wants to achieve “anything that is needed to stop the assault,” including military and civilian help.

Patrick Kenyette

Freelance journalist and Photographer, and regular African Military Blog contributor

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