Accusations of 'Mission Creep' are once again being aimed at NATO and its allies after news broke that the UK was to send 4 Apache attack helicopters to Libya.
Pro and anti Gaddafi commentators have expressed concern that this move presents a clear escalation of the war against Libyan government forces and may lead to ground forces being deployed.
Lt. General Charles Bouchard, leader of NATO forces in Libya, categorically denied the claim before the world press yesterday :
"The introduction of Apache helicopters in no way represents an escalation of the conflict or a precursor to the use of ground troops. The helicopters will be used only as a reassurance for NATO troops or as a deterrent to Gaddafi's forces. They will not be used in an active military role at all".
Sources close to NATO however suggest that the Apaches will not be the last addition to the Alliance's fighting force in North Africa.
Its reported that 10 just off the conveyor belt Hovertanks are to be deployed in the conflict over the next few weeks. The Hovertank is as it says on the tin - a cross between a hovercraft and a tank and is a fully armoured attack vehicle (with 2 large calibre guns and 360% mobility) that is propelled on a cushion of air and as a result has increased mobility over rocky land.
Another innovation that is expected to be unveiled by NATO commanders is the deployment of 50 "Levitroops" which are fully armed SAS fighters fitted with jet packs that enable them to travel at speed just 2 feet above the ground and will be invaluable in the fight against Gaddafi's small crack units.