UPDATED 8 APRIL 2015 | The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is soon to cross the 500 mission milestone for its CF-188 Hornet multirole fighters assigned to Operation Impact, Canada’s contribution in fighting the so-called Islamic State forces – or Middle East Stabilization Force (MESF) dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve by the United States. As of 30 March 2015 the Canadians have literately brought Impact into Syria, when the earlier limitation of missions only in Iraq was lifted by the government in Ottawa.
Canada’s CF-188 Hornets conducted their first airstrike in Syria on 8 April 2015. Two Hornets, using precision-guided munitions, were involved in an attack of an ISIL garrison near Ar Raqqah, Syria. A total of 10 coalition aircraft, including six aircraft from the United States were involved in this airstrike.
Six McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) CF-188 Hornet (F/A-18) fighter / strike / attack, one Airbus CC-150T Polaris (A330 MRTT) tanker/transport and two Lockheed CP-140 Aurora (P-3 Orion) reconnaissance and bomb-damage assessment aircraft have been deployed to Kuwait to what the Canadians call Camp Patrice Vincent (possibly Ahmed Al Jaber Airbase) since 28 October 2014. Counted from their first operational day, 30 October, until 5 April 2015 the Hornets flew 476 sorties, the Polaris 123 sorties and the Auroras 133 missions. CF-188 Hornets conducted Canada’s first combat airstrike on ISIL targets on 2 November 2014.
The CC-150T delivered 7,278,000 pounds of fuel to MESF coalition aircraft during its almost five months of operations. Six hundred Canadian military personnel are part of the Joint Task Force-Iraq (JTF-I). As officially released images show they sometimes use US Army Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks to support their operations or training.
None of the officially assigned aircraft to MESF was the first Canadian plane to fly a mission against ISIS/ISIL. The honour comes to a Boeing CC-177 Globemaster III, the RCAF recently received its fifth aircraft of this type, on 28 August 2014.
That strategic airlifter delivered 35,000 pounds of military hardware donated by the Republic of Albania to Iraqi security forces, followed by a similar flight on 18 September with military supplies donated by the Czech Republic. In total RCAF airlifters made 25 flights in August and September, delivering 1,600,000 pounds (725,000 kg) of military supplies including small arms and ammunition to Iraq from donating countries via the airfields of Baghdad and Erbil. Both the CC-177 as well as the CC-130 Hercules have been providing critical airlift to the Canadian forces of MESF ever since then.
As of 30 March 2015 the Royal Canadian Air Force has the mandate to bring Operation Impact to Syria, with the Canadian government extending the mission until at least 1 April 2016.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information provided by the Canadian Armed Forces
Featured image (top): Nice view from a CC-150 Polaris at an escort RCAF CF-188 during Operation Impact on 4 February 2015
(Image © Canadian Forces Combat Camera, DND)