'US operations in Libya cost $550mn'

30 Mar

A10 Thunderbolt, the American tankbuster aircraft

March 30, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) —The US military expenditures for ongoing airstrikes in Libya have topped $550 million amid warnings that a protracted conflict could emerge in the country, the Pentagon says, PRESS TV CHANNEL reported.

According to the US Defense Department, 60 percent of the funds were spent on munitions, mostly Raytheon Tomahawk missiles and bombs, with the rest going toward deploying troops and covering the costs of combat, including additional fuel needed for US aircraft and ships, AFP reported on Tuesday.

Between March 19 and March 28, the US military also fired at least 192 of the 199 Tomahawk cruise missiles, which cost $1.5 million apiece.

As the US-led military operations in Libya entered its eleventh consecutive day, the Pentagon’s latest figures indicate that the cost of the war may total $800 million by the end of September if the US continues operations.

Meanwhile, US Navy Commander Kathleen Kesler, a Pentagon spokeswoman stated on Tuesday that the Pentagon would spend another $40 million over the next three weeks as the 28-member NATO takes the helm of all military operations in Libya on Thursday.

“After that, if US forces stay at the levels currently planned and the operations continues, we would incur added costs of about $40 million per month,” she added.

According to US military officials, more than 350 aircraft are participating in the US-led campaign of military airstrikes against Libya “to protect civilians” from attacks by forces loyal to ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

Apart from the US, twelve EU countries are taking part in Operation Odyssey Dawn, which began on March 19.

Experts at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments say the Western countries participating in the military operations in Libya would have to pay $30 million to $100 million per week.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that a coalition of countries conducting airstrikes against Gaddafi’s forces launched 22 Tomahawk missiles and flew 115 strike sorties in the last 24 hours.

The Libyan regime says that at least 114 people, mostly civilians, have been killed and 445 others injured in the campaign of US-led military airstrikes in Libya since March 20.

A new opinion poll by the Pew Research Center published on Monday shows that just under half of Americans — 47 percent — thinks it was the right decision to conduct military airstrikes in Libya. Another 36 percent say it was the wrong decision and 17 percent are unsure.  (*)
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