In Photos — Canada Bombs Islamic State
Hornet fighters attack militants near Fallujah
On Sept. 19, the U.S. government formally asked Canada for help fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq. Royal Canadian Air Force cargo planes had been hauling supplies to Iraqi troops since late August.
Forty-three days after the Americans’ request, Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet fighters attacked the militants near Fallujah—the air arm’s first direct combat since NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya.
Canadian military photographers documented the whole process.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper presented plans for the Middle East deployment to the House of Commons on Oct. 3. Four days later, legislators approved a six-month mission—Operation Impact.
The Air Task Force—six CF-18s, two CP-140 Aurora prop-driven patrol planes and a CC-150 Polaris tanker plus 600 people—began staging from bases in Canada on Oct. 23, as depicted above.
They arrived in Kuwait on Oct. 28—shown below—and, two days later, took off for their first combat patrol. Two Hornets, an Aurora and the Polaris flew a six-hour mission west of Baghdad, but found no targets to attack. That uneventful sortie is depicted at the bottom of the page.
That changed on Nov. 2. “Coordinated with our partners, two CF-18s attacked ISIL targets with GBU-12 500-pound laser-guided bombs in the vicinity of Fallujah,” Defense Minister Rob Nicholson stated.
“The approximately four-hour mission included air-to-air refueling from Canada’s Polaris aircraft,” Nicholson added.
“All aircraft returned safely to their base.”