Monday, August 17, 2015

Continue to Support for Air Task Force Iraq

You may know this already (perhaps because of this webpage) - but I am a strong supporter of the military. There have been recent calls for changes to Canada's contribution to the fight against ISIS. In Canada, our mission is titled, Operation IMPACT. The US led coalition name is Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.  We need to continue to support Air Task Force Iraq (ATFI)

Those who call for changes say Canada has only contributed to approximately 3% of coalition air strikes. They argue that 3% of strikes will not hurt ISIS - and therefore, Canada should withdraw our fighter jets (as both the NDP and Liberal's propose) and withdraw our Special Forces training mission (as the NDP propose). But when you look at the breakdown of military forces in the region, it becomes extremely clear why Canada has only contributed to about 3% of airstrikes...we have 1% of the forces involved. If you want more of a Canadian contribution, you have to be willing to deploy more Canadian assets.

I agree with both the Liberal and NDP calls for more humanitarian aid - Canada has a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) - that I believe could be deployed for a longer mission to the UN refugee camps being set up in Jordan or Turkey. The DART team does amazing work when they deploy to disaster zones; just look at what they were able to do in Nepal on a month long deployment.

But to those who want Canada to be a bigger contributor to the fight against ISIS (which I think we should be at least maintaining our current contribution) you need to be willing to deploy more Canadian assets.

Canada currently has the following assets in place to help the coalition against ISIS;
(Numbers of Aircraft only - not support personnel)

  • 6 CF-188 Super Hornet Strike Aircraft 
  • 1 CC-150T Polaris Areal refueller to support Canada and Coalition allies 
  • 2 CP-140M Aurora Surveillance aircraft to target and examine airstrike effectiveness for Canada and Coalition allies. 
  • Numerous trips with a CC-177 Globemaster III for transport of Goods to Canadian Forces, Coalituon Allies and military and humanitarian aid to Iraq. 
Between August and September 2014 - RCAF aircraft delivered 1.6 million pounds of military supplies to Iraq.  The donations from coalition allies included small arms, ammunition and other equipment. Military equipment was delivered to Security forces working in Baghdad and Erbil. 

As of August 12, 2015 - Air Task Force Iraq (ATFI)
  • CF-188 Hornets have conducted more than 861 sorties, and more than 1000 Airstrikes 
  • CC-150T Polaris has conducted more than 228 sorties, and delivering close to 14 million pouds of fuel to coalition aircraft 
  • CP-140 Aurora aircraft have conducted more than 248 reconnaissance missions. 
  • CC-177 Globemaster aircraft have conducted dozens of flights. 
Canada has close to 700 personnel deployed to Iraq - a relatively small number compared to out allies. Don't believe me? Take a look. (Some American breakdowns are not public) 

The USAF Assets in Iraq 
  • Multiple B-1B Lancer Bombers operating out of Qatar 
  • Dozens of F-22 Raptor Strike Aircraft 
  • Dozens of F-15E Strike Eagles Aircraft
  • Dozens of F-16C Fighting Falcons Aircraft
  • Numerous F-16CJ Anti-Radar Aircraft 
  • Numerous A-10C Thunderbolt "Warthogs" Close Air support aircraft
  • Numerous KC-135 Stratotankers - areal refueling aircraft 
  • Numerous KC-10 Extenders - areal refueling aircraft 
  • Numerous C-130J Hercules strategic lift aircraft 
  • Numerous Drones (Including MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper Attack drones) 
The US Navy Assets in Iraq 
  • 12 F/A-18E Super Hornet Strike Aircraft 
  • 22 F/A-18F Super Hornet Strike Aircraft 
  • Between 20 and 24 F/A-18C/D Super Hornet Strike Aircraft 
  • 5 EA-18G Growler Anti-Radar Aircraft 
  • 4 EA-6B Prowlers Anti-Radar Aircraft 
  • 4 E-2D Hakweye AWACS aircraft 
  • 3 E-2C Hakweye AWACS Aircraft 
  • Numerous SH-60B and SH-60F Seahawk Helicopters for support 
  • 11 MH-60R Seahawk Support Helicopters 
  • 2 C-2A Greyhound Strategic Transport Aircraft 
The US Marine Corps Assets in Iraq 

  • 6 F/A-18 Super Hornet Strike Aircraft
  • 10 F/A-18C (Navy) Super Hornet Strike Aircraft 
  • 6 AV-8B Harrier Strike Aircraft 
  • Numerous EA-6B Prowler Electronic Warfare 
  • Numerous KC-130 areal refueling aircraft 
  • 8 to 10 MV-22B Osprey Tilt-Rotor Assault aircraft 
  • At least 4 AH-1Z Super Cobra Attack helicopters 
  • At least 3 UH-1Y Hueys attack helicopters 
  • At least 3 CH-53E Super Stallion Transport Helicopters 
Iraqi Air Force Assets 
  • 3 Cessna AC-208Bs - Armed Scout Aircraft 
  • 3 Cessna RC-208B - Reconnaissance Aircraft 
  • 15 Su-25 "Frogfoot" Attack Aircraft 
  • 6 Mi-35M "Hind" Attack Helicopters 
  • 15 Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopters 
  • 19 Airbus EC635 Helicopters (Armed Scout) 
  • 23 Bell 407 JetRanger Armed Scout Aircraft 
  • 6 SA342 Gazelle Scout Helicopters 
French Air Force Assets in Iraq 
  • 9 Rafales Reconnaissance/Attack Aircraft 
  • 6 Mirage 2000D Attack Aircraft 
  • 1 C135FR areal refueling aircraft 
  • 1 Breguet Atlantique 2 Reconnaissance Aircraft 
Royal Australian Air Force Assets in Iraq 
  • 6 to 8 F/A-18F Super Hornet Strike aircraft 
  • 1 E-7A Wedgetail AWACS Aircraft 
  • 1 KC-30A areal refueling aircraft 
  • 1 C-17A Globemaster III Strategic Lift Aircraft 
Royal Air Force (Great Britain) Assets in Iraq 
  • 8 Tornado Strike Aircraft 
  • 1 RC-135W surveillance Aircraft 
  • 1 Raytheon Sentital surveillance aircraft 
  • Numerous MQ-9 Reaper Surveillance Drones  
Royal Danish Air Force Assets in Iraq 
  • 7 F-16AMs Strike Aircraft 
  • 1 C-130J Hercules Strategic Lift Aircraft 

Italian Air Force Assets in Iraq 
  • 4 Tornado Tactical Recon aircraft 
  • 1 KC-767A areal refueling aircraft 
  • 2 MQ-1 Predator Attack Drones 
Royal Saudi Air Force Assets in Iraq 
  • At least 4 Tornado IDS Strike Aircraft 
  • Possibly 4 F-15S Strike Eagles 
  • Numerous EF2000 Typhoon Multi-Role Aircraft 

Other Air Assets in Iraq 
  • The UAE has at least 6 F-16s or Mirage 2000s deployed against targets in both Iraq and Syria
  • The Royal Bahraini Air Force has at least 3 F-16s against targets in Syria
  • Royal Jordanian Air Force has at least 3 F-16s against targets in Syria 
  • Belgian Air Component has at least 6 F-16 involved active in Iraq 
  • The Royal Netherlands Air Force has at least 8 F-16s active in Iraq 
  • The US Army has numerous AH-64D Apache Attack Helicopters for security of the US Embassy in Baghdad. 
  • The Iranian Air Force has possibly 4 to 8 F-4 Phantom IIs and possibly 5 Su-24MKs (They are however not part of the US Led Coalition) 
  • The Royal Moroccon Air Force has 6 F-16s active in Iraq. 
  • The Turkish Air Force have 3 F-16s operating against targets in Syria. 
So when looking at the overall air assets in place against ISIS it is no wonder the RCAF has such a small role to play. If critics of Operation IMPACT (or OP INHERENT RESOLVE) want Canada to play a larger role - deploy more aircraft. Canada could easily deploy another 6 to 10 CF-18s without compromising our Sovereignty flights. (This calculation is based on the fact that at the outset of OP IMPACT, Canada had 6 (with one spare) CF-18s involved in the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission in Eastern Europe. 

Continue to Support Air Task Force Iraq - are a small part of the overall picture, but they are making a difference.  

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