Devonport submarine HMS Triumph launches Tomahawk missiles into Libya
DEVONPORT-based submarine HMS Triumph has played a key role in the airstrikes on Libya, it has been reported.
The international community swung into action against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi over the weekend.
The UK, France, the US, Canada and Italy joined the UN-backed operation to protect civilians from attacks by Col Gaddafi's forces.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said that a British Trafalgar-class submarine fired Tomahawk cruise missiles into the country.
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While the MoD has not confirmed which sub is involved, there have been reports that the Plymouth vessel has been deployed.
A US Pentagon spokesman said the British submarine taking part in the operation was the 130-crew HMS Triumph, according to The Daily Mail.
Plymouth frigate HMS Cumberland is in international waters nearby ready to assist.
The vessel has been running rescue missions from Libya in recent weeks, taking hundreds of British and foreign nationals to safety in Malta.
She is one of four Devonport-based Type-22 frigates to be scrapped as part of defence cutbacks.
Tornados took off from RAF Marham in Norfolk shortly after 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles – some of them British – were fired at Libya to knock out the dictator's air defence systems at more than 20 coastal locations.
The missiles targeted radar systems and ground-to-air missile sites around the cities of Tripoli and Misrata in what was described as "the first phase of a multi-phase operation", clearing the way for UN-backed planes to take control of the skies.
The onslaught on Gaddafi came after an emergency summit in Paris agreed military action to enforce United Nations resolution 1973, which authorised "any necessary measures" short of foreign occupation to defend Libyan civilians.
David Cameron announced that British forces had gone into action in a brief statement outside 10 Downing Street following a meeting of senior ministers and military top brass.
Initiating his first military campaign as PM, Mr Cameron described the operation as "necessary, legal and right".
His thoughts were with British service personnel who were risking their lives to save others, he said.
The MoD has said it is "entirely comfortable" with the outcome of the airstrikes on Libya.