The Libyan Air Force has reportedly taken delivery of four new Russian-made Su-27 Flanker fighter aircraft from an undisclosed country.
An unnamed Libyan official was quoted by official pro HoR LANA news agency as saying that informed military sources in the Libyan National Army (LNA) confirmed on 5 January that four new Sukhoi fighter jets effectively joined the squadrons of the Libyan Air Force.
The aircraft are capable of covering a distance of 3,530km with a maximum speed of 2,500kph. It is also claimed they are capable of staying airborne for a long duration, and can manoeuvre and re-attack up to three times.
They are expected to augment LNA’s capabilities in the fight against extremist and terrorist militias across the country.
As Libya is not listed as an official buyer of the Sukhoi Su-27, it is believed to have acquired second-hand or refurbished fighters from other countries.
However, the LNA did not disclose whether the jets were new, or loaned from neighbouring states or allies, or an addition of upgraded old aircraft to the existing Air Force squadrons.
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Meanwhile, Libya Herald reported that there is no independent confirmation of the delivery of the fighters.
The delivery comes as the Libyan Armed Forces pledge to intensify airstrikes on all vital infrastructure in the city of Misrata.
General Khalifa Haftar spokesman colonel Mohamed Hejazy was quoted by the Financial Times as saying: "Misurata’s ports are used to transfer terrorist and extremist elements, whether Libyan or foreign.
"Misurata is the most dangerous threat to the Libyan state today.
"Therefore, all institutions in Misurata, whether its ports or airport, constitute threats against Libyans."
According to Libya Herald, the Libyan Air Force already threatened to shoot down any Sudanese or Turkish Military or civilian aircraft that enters its airspace.
This warning came a day after bombing a Greek-operated oil tanker, killing two crew members.
Image: A Russian Air Force Su-27 Flanker fighter aircraft in flight. Photo: courtesy of Vitaly V. Kuzmin.