PARIS (Reuters) - Military action authorized by the United Nations against Libyan forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi could take place under NATO command or under a coalition of the willing led by France and Britain.
NATO said its ambassadors would meet to discuss their response, while analysts expect an initial strike would target Libya’s military aircraft, air force bases and communication systems.
Following are the military assets that could be used in action against Libya:
FRANCE France, which was at the forefront of the push to take action in Libya, would likely deploy Mirage and Rafale fighters from air bases near the Mediterranean towns of Marseille and Istres or from the island of Corsica.
Airborne refueling tanker aircraft are also ready to depart from Istres.
Fighter jets could reach Libya in around an hour and a half from the south of France and in around an hour from Corsica.
France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier is at the Mediterranean port of Toulon so would be ready to deploy fast.
France rejoined NATO in 2009.
Britain said it would deploy Typhoon patrol jets and all-weather Tornado attack aircraft which are based at Royal Air Force bases in Scotland and the eastern county of Norfolk but would be moved in the coming hours to unidentified bases nearer Libya.
Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament that air-to-air refueling and surveillance aircraft would also be used.
Britain has two frigates off the Libyan coast: HMS Cumberland and HMS Westminster. The Ministry of Defense said it was not clear if they would be used in any operation and added destroyers could also be deployed.
It was not immediately clear whether the United States would be involved in an initial operation. The Navy has an aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, and other warships in the Mediterranean.
Italy is unlikely to take part in strikes but is expected to provide its air base at Sigonella in Sicily for NATO operations.
Fighter jets leaving from Sicily could reach Libya in around half an hour.
Norway said it will make its F-16 fighter jets available for an operation in Libya and could also provide Hercules transport aircraft to assist in humanitarian efforts.
Denmark said it would send six F-16 planes and one military transport plane to support an intervention in Libya. The planes were ready to leave Denmark on Saturday for a southern European base with around 100 personnel including pilots and support.
The Dutch government said it backs the no-fly zone over Libya and would support a military intervention if asked, but has not been asked to contribute for now.
Non-NATO member Sweden is seen as possibly coming into support enforcement of the no-fly zone at a later stage.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are seen as the most likely Arab nations to provide back-up for an operation.
Reporting by Catherine Bremer in Paris, Keith Weir in London; Editing by Giles Elgood