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Libyan Air Wars
Part 3: 1985-1989

Helion and Company

S u m m a r y

Publisher and Title:

HEL0553, Libyan Air Wars Part 3: 1985-1989
Published by Helion and Company

ISBN: 978-1-910294-54-3

297mm x 210mm paperback, 72 pages, c 150 colour & b/w photos, colour profiles, maps


Due to distribution rights, the book is available in Australia here for $32.95.
For our North America colleagues you can pick it up here for $29.95.

All other distribution information can be found at the Casemate UK site here.
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Excellent coverage of a topic that I’ve not seen covered in depth before. The descriptive text and very helpful, images, maps and profiles are perfect for both modellers and history buffs off this era.
Disadvantages: Check that you purchase your book through the correct distributor as some countries will not have it available via Casemate UK.

Not just an excellent book but an excellent series to have on the bookshelf concerning the air wars of this location and era. Well researched, well written and well recommended.

Reviewed by Mick Drover

HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com

Publishers’ Notes


“Confrontations between Libya, and the USA and France reached their highest point in the period between April 1986 and early 1989. In response to a Libyan-instigated and supported series of terror attacks against US citizens and interests in Europe, in April 1986 the USA launched Operation El Dorado Canyon - a series of raids against carefully selected targets in Libya.

Simultaneously, the USA and France bolstered the military of the Chadian government, enabling it ti subsequently launch an all-out advance against Libyan troops and proxy forces in the north of Libya. This culminated in the series of spectacular campaigns better known as the “Toyota Wars”, characterised by high speed of operations and surprise. The Chadian Army defeated its opponents in 1987 and nearly launched an invasion of Libya in 1988, successfully concluding this conflict.

This title close the Libyan War mini-series with a detailed insight into the final US-Libyan confrontation, which took place in early 1989, and culminated in another high-profile air combat between the most modern jet fighters of the Libyan Are Air Force, and the US Navy.

As usual, the volume is richly illustrated by well over 150 contemporary and exclusive photographs, colour profiles, and maps, detailing the history, training, equipment, markings and tactics of the involved air forces.”





Third in the Africa @ War series, Albert Grandolini and Tom Cooper have done a great job in writing this book. After reading it I had a better understanding of the period and the reason for conflicts that occurred between each of the protagonists. The written work in conjunction with high quality maps, period photos and colour profiles provides a thorough outline of the conflicts that occurred during this era and location. The political nature of these battles is also discussed.

Several of the conflicts I’d only heard by name but after reading this book I had an excellent understanding of the reasons for why they conflicts occurred and the location and era in which they took place. I was particularly interested in reading the El Dorado Canyon campaign due to my dad working on the F-111 during his time in the Royal Australian Air Force and me seeing them flying around the local area. The chapters covered in detail not just the attack but also the training and work up period in the months prior to the attack.

The book is sensibly broken into five chapters across its 72 pages covering the following chapters.

  1. Gearing Up for a War - This chapter covers the period prior to the El Dorado Canyon operation. It discusses many topics including aircraft and crew selection, training schedules and planning

  2. Operation El Dorado Canyon - This chapter covers the aforementioned operation from the departure from Lakenheath and the associated flights. Covered here is also all of the supporting air work that accompanied the F-111’s during their long flight.

  3. Italian Affairs - This chapter covers Italy’s involvement in the theatre after Libya ordered a retaliatory strike on one of the islands of Italy.

  4. Toyota Wars - This chapter covers the Chad-Libyan conflict that happened in 1987 in Northern Chad and the accompanying border with Libya.

  5. Final Clash - Although discussing other topics, the end of this chapter discusses the second Gulf of Sidra incident that occurred on the 4th of January 1989 when two US Navy F-14 Tomcats shot down two Libyan MiG-23 Floggers.

An excellent inclusion in the book and a sign of continuing research is an almost four page addendum and errata for the previous Part 1 and Part 2 books in the series. It’s great to see this additional information that has been uncovered since their first publication.




I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Prior to reading it I had heard of the incidents by name only however I came away with a lot more knowledge about the why and the what during this time. The descriptive text is excellent id describing the event while the supporting maps, photos and profiles provide the extra information that perhaps modellers are looking for, particularly when building a subject from these campaigns.

In reading this book I’ll probably hunt down the other two books as they really are an excellent book covering the history of these campaigns. I’m very happy to have it in my reference library. If you’re even remotely interested in these conflicts then I certainly recommend tracking this book down and it’s earlier cousins.

Thanks to Casemate Publishing for the sample.

Review Copyright 2016 by Mick Drover
This Page Created on 29 November, 2016
Last updated 29 November, 2016

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