Canadian planes have flown 116 sorties over Iraq, commander says
Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 fighter jets taxi on the runway in Kuwait during Operation IMPACT on November 13, 2014. (Canadian Forces Combat Camera / DND)
Published Thursday, November 27, 2014 11:21AM EST
Canadian military aircraft have flown more than 100 sorties in Iraq since joining coalition forces at the end of October, a senior commander said Thursday, including escorting a humanitarian aid drop to civilians earlier this week.
Col. Daniel Constable, commander of joint task force Iraq, provided an update for reporters on Canada’s mission against Islamic State militants.
While he offered little in the way of specifics, he updated the total number of sorties flown by Canadian aircraft to 116. Broken down by number of sorties per aircraft:
- CF-18s have flown 72;
- the C-150 Polaris refueller has flown 21;
- and the CP-140 Auroras have flown 23.
Earlier this week, an undisclosed number of CF-18s escorted a coalition transport aircraft that was conducting a humanitarian aid air drop mission over Iraq, Constable said.
Supplies included water, tents and blankets to help Iraqi civilians “who will face harsh winter temperatures in the coming months,” he said in a teleconference Thursday morning.
On those missions, Constable noted that transport aircraft have to fly at lower altitudes, and are therefore more vulnerable to attack from the ground.
“The presence of our CF-18s to provide top cover for the transport aircraft, allowed it to deliver its aid cargo at a lower altitude knowing that our fighter aircraft could detect and target any air or ground threats,” Constable said.
“The mission was highly effective, and appreciated by our coalition partner.”
Citing security concerns, Constable would not divulge the date on which the mission occurred, how many CF-18s were involved, or which coalition country was providing the aid.
Constable also updated figures on how much fuel Canada’s C-150 refueller has delivered to coalition aircraft. More than 976,000 pounds of fuel have been provided to Canadian, U.S., Australian and British planes, he said.
Six CF-18 fighter jets, two CP-140 Aurora surveillance planes and the C-150 refuelling jet have been deployed to Kuwait, along with 600 support personnel, as part of Canada’s six-month mission alongside coalition forces fighting ISIS in Iraq.
The Department of National Defence had previously announced that Canada’s CF-18s have conducted four airstrike missions in Iraq, dropping bombs no construction equipment, a piece of artillery, a warehouse used to make improvised explosive devices and an ISIS fighting position.