The civil war in Libya—ongoing as this is written—already has lessons for the United States on a number of levels: political, strategic, operational—and naval.
The initial establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya was begun with ship-launched Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles. These long-range and accurate weapons appear to have been used against Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s missile and radar sites. The opening barrage, according to reports available so far, was launched from two U.S. guided-missile destroyers, a U.S. cruise-missile submarine, and a British torpedo-attack submarine.
In the opening hours of the U.S.-NATO assault, the two destroyers, the USS Barry (DDG-52) and Stout (DDG-55), and the submarine Florida (SSGN-728) launched 199 Tomahawks, while the British submarine Triumph fired another seven missiles. (Two U.S. torpedo-attack submarines were in the Mediterranean—the Providence [SSN-719] and Scranton [SSN-756]—but based on available information, they did not fire Tomahawks in the opening salvo.)