Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Colonel Qaddafi has gone to war against his own people.While Qaddafi has kept his military weak to avoid a coup, he has built it on decades of oil money and Soviet equipment. Compared to unarmed civilians though the military remains formidable.
He’s also called a stunningly large mercenary army into action. On the other side is a grab bag of whatever the tribes, rebels and defectors have been able to seize.
Libya’s official military spending was $833 million in 2008, down from $6.85 billion in 1986. Its equipment come primarily from Western European countries and Russia.
The Libyan army consists of 10 tank battalions, 10 mechanised infantry battalions, 18 infantry battalions, 6 commando battalions, 7 air defence artillery battalions and 22 artillery battalions.
Since civil unrest began in Libya, Qaddafi has used the Libyan Air Force to bomb protesters. Two Libyan Air Force pilots however flew their jets to Malta and another two pilots ejected with parachutes and crashed their plane near Ajdabiya, west of Benghazi. Libya's airforce is said to include some advanced fighter jets but most are considered outdated.
The navy has several SSK diesel submarines and other frigates (warships). In Tripoli, the Libyan ships opened fire on residential neighborhoods, according to The Guardian.
The Khammis brigade special forces are considered to be the best trained and equipped forces in the Libyan army and is commanded by Muammar Qaddafi's youngest son Khamis Qaddafi.
Qaddafi's son Khamis has been expelled from Madrid's IE Business School for his role in the attacks on Libyan people, according to Bloomberg. The elite brigade is loyal to Qaddafi.
Qaddafi's mercenaries tend largely to be African migrants with no ties to the Libyan people and have allegedly been unleashed on Libyan protestors. The Swedish newspaper Expressen reports that Qaddafi's private mercenary army is 120,000-strong.
The T-72 is a soviet-designed tank that was first used in the 1970s. The Libyan army has an additional 115 in store. In 2010 Russia signed a €1.3 billion deal to upgrade about 200 of the T-72 tanks according to RiaNovosti.
The T-62's were first produced by the Soviet Union between 1961 - 1975, the Libyan army has another 70 in store.
The T-55's were first produced by the Soviet Union before the end of WWII. The Libyan army has 1,040 T-54/T-55 in store.
Libya is the only country in North Africa with a limited SSM capability according to CSIS.
The towed weapons include 42 105-mm M-101s, a light-field howitzer, 60 D-74 122-mm weapons, Soviet built guns and 330 130-mm M-46 weapons among other.
The self-propelled artillery includes 14 M-109 155mm weapons commonly used by Israel and the U.S. In terms of sheer quantity Libya is well stocked up on artillery, but a lot of it is in storage or not operational, according to CSIS.
Libya's got large inventories of multiple rocket launchers which include 300 Type 63 107-mm weapons, according to CSIS.
Qaddafi has only spent about 1.2% of GDP in the three years through 2008 which is the lowest in the region according to Bloomberg.
This is supposedly a precaution he takes against a military coup, like the one that brought him to power. Of course this doesn't count spending on his mercenary army.
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