Libya’s war from above: on board the RAF’s E-3D spy plane

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The cockpit of an RAF E-3D aircraft at the Trapani military base in Sicily Photo: JANE MINGAY

The RAF is using its E-3D spy plane to help protect Libya‘s civilians as the war rages between Mumamaar Gaddafi’s forces and rebel fighters. Sean Rayment delivers dispatch from on board this secret military jet.

8:45AM BST 29 May 2011

Thirty thousand feet above Libya, the war against Mumamaar Gaddafi is directed against the roar of aircraft noise by men hunched over banks of computer screens.

This is Magic 52, the RAF E-3D spy plane which is in charge of the effort to protect Libya’s civilians from the dictator.

Last week The Sunday Telegraph became the first newspaper on board the RAF jet whose equipment is one of Britain’s most closely-guarded military secrets.

From the airborne command, control and communication centre, a crew of highly-trained specialists direct every part of the bombing campaign. Continue reading