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It won't be a walkover, warns expert.

A BRITISH defence expert warned that Allied air strikes against Yugoslavia would not be the ``walkover'' that military action against Iraq proved last December.

Paul Beaver, Yugoslav expert at defence publishing and information group Jane's Defence, said the Serbian-led Yugoslav armed forces were better equipped than Saddam Hussein's had been.

Yugoslavia had a modern air missile defence system which was ``a generation more advanced'' than anything Saddam could muster.

Mr Beaver said: ``When Nato carried out air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs five years ago, three aircraft were shot down. We believe the risk to aircraft involved in this operation would be significantly greater than during the air strikes against Iraq.''

Nato does, however, have highly detailed intelligence on Yugoslavia's military facilities, he said.

As part of Nato's Operation Determined Force, more than 300 aircraft were ready to go from air bases, mainly in Italy, and aircraft carriers in the Adriatic.

Fourteen countries - Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, the USA, Germany, Greece, Italy, Holland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom - are contributing to the operation.

The British contribution is being spearheaded by eight RAF Harrier GR7s, based in Italy.

The Royal Navy's cruise missile submarine HMS Splendid - launched only last year - is also in the region.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 24, 1999
Words:207
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