Pentagon spokesman Dan Howard gave this second-by-second chronology Thursday of the incident in which two U.S. Navy jets shot down two Libyan MiG-23 fighters over the Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday.
All times are local time, which is nine hours ahead of Mountain Standard Time.
11:55 a.m. - A U.S. E-2 electronic surveillance plane reported spotting two MiG-23 Floggers airborne from Al Bumbah, passing from land over the sea.
11:57 a.m. - The Navy F-14s report radar contact with the MiGs at a range of72 nautical miles and an altitude of 10,000 feet, moving to 8,000 feet, and traveling at a speed of 430 knots.
11:57 a.m. - The MiGs are reported on a bearing of 180 degrees at a range of 61 nautical miles, on a course of 330, northeast, at 8,000 feet; the bearing, 180 degrees from the F-14s, or straight at them.
11:58 a.m. and 17 seconds - The F-14s turn left 20 degrees at 20,000 feet to avoid the approaching MiGs. "This is the first avoidance maneuver," Howard said.
11:58 a.m. and 24 seconds - The MiGs turn right, descend to 5,000 feet, still at 430 knots. "This is their first turn toward the F-14s," Howard said.
11:58 and 43 seconds - The F-14s descend to 3,000 feet. The MiGs are now at 53 nautical miles, coming head on. The F-14s turn left to course 140 in the second avoidance maneuver.
11:59 a.m. e The MiGs are at 49 nautical miles.
11:59 a.m. and 16 seconds - The MiGs change course to 340 and increase speed to 500 knots to come back into head-on position toward the F-14s.
11:59 a.m. and 26 seconds - The F-14s accelerate and turn right in their third avoidance maneuver.
11:59 a.m. and 38 seconds - The commander of the F-14 patrol takes the first step in preparing his weapons for firing.
11:59 and 49 seconds - The MiGs are at 35 nautical miles and they turn again directly toward the F-14s, for the third time, and the MiGs are at an altitude of about 7,000 feet.
Noon and eight seconds - The F-14s turned right to 210 degrees in their fourth maneuver to avoid the MiGs.
Noon and 15 seconds - The number two F-14 aircraft reports that its weapon-firing radar has a fix on the second MiG.
Noon and 20 seconds - The MiGs turn into a head-on position for the fourth time.
Noon and 26 seconds - The F-14s turn left in their fifth avoidance maneuver.
Noon and 53 seconds - The MiGs turn back into the F-14s for the fifth time.
Noon and 57 seconds - The lead F-14 reports that a MiG is again on a collision course, and the airborne warfare officer, assisting the pilot on the two-man plane, prepares the weapons for immediate firing.
12:01 p..m. and 20 seconds - The first Sparrow missile is fired by the lead F-14 at a MiG at a distance of 12 nautical miles. The MiGs are now traveling at 550 knots and accelerating.
12:01 p.m. and 32 seconds - The second Sparrow missile is fired at 10 nautical miles. The second F-14 reports the MiGs in sight at five to six nautical miles.
12:01 p.m. and 45 seconds - The MiGs turn sharply toward the second F-14.
12:01 p.m. and 53 seconds - The second F-14 visually identifies the two MiG-23s at five nautical miles.
12:01 p.m. and 57 seconds - The second F-14 fires a Sparrow missile at the No. 2 MiG.
12:02 p.m. and six seconds - The second F-14 breaks away to the right and reports a good hit on the second MiG.
12:02 p.m. and 36 seconds - The lead F-14 fires a Sidewinder missile at the lead MiG. The pilot of the lead F-14, the commander, reports sighting both of the hits, sighting the ejection seats firing on both of the MiGs and reports seeing two parachutes coming down.
12:03 p.m. and two seconds - Both F-14s turned north back toward the carrier.