Some news sources, subjected to weeks of official political theater, staged propaganda, and demonstrable lies since the uprising against Qaddafi began in mid-February, dismissed the entire scene as a fake government set-up.
Subsequent analysis by the Monitor, however, shows that the missile pieces put on display in the yard were from an American-made AGM-88 HARM missile – a high-speed antiradiation missile favored by military planners to knock out radar sites.
It was probably targeting nearby radar installations. There is one 1.9 miles to the northwest, which is one of many such facilities concentrated along Libya’s Mediterranean coastline that have been struck to create a UN-endorsed no-fly zone and "protect civilians” from Libyan forces.
Serial numbers and lettering showed the weapon as US-made. Among the remaining pieces of the missile were fins marked BSU-60 A/B, which are part of the HARM system.
That missile is four meters long and with a ten-inch diameter, and online photographs account for the remaining chunks found at the Libyan site, including a light-weight nose cone and another particular piece of shrapnel – a single belt of metal bolted around the halfway point on the missile.
The “bullet holes” in the wall are explained by how the AGM-88 HARM destroys its radar target: by using particular cube-shaped fragments that are smaller than bullets, which blast from the missile above the ground with a proximity fuse – not on impact.
Expert descriptions of how the HARM performs may help explain why the missile did not land on a radar site.
The HARM has “an unparalleled ability to home in on enemy [radar] emitters” and knock out air defense systems, according to GlobalSecurity.org. But unlike precision-guided weapons, they “cannot be steered and under certain conditions may not guide on the target that they were originally fired.”