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NATO operation Deny Flight - 15 Sep 95

Miscellaneous Directory

From: Franco Veltri <>



The mission of NATO Operation DENY FLIGHT is threefold:

1. To conduct aerial monitoring and enforce compliance with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 816, which bans flights by fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft in the airspace of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the "No-Fly Zone" (NFZ).

2. To provide close air support (CAS) to UN troops on the ground at the request of, and controlled by, United Nations forces under the provisions of UNSCRs 836, 958 and 981.

3. To conduct, after request by and in coordination with the UN, approved air strikes against designated targets threatening the security of the UN-declared safe areas.


The Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) delegated authority for the implementation of Operation DENY FLIGHT to the Commander in Chief of Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH) Admiral Leighton W Smith Jr, U.S. Navy, whose headquarters is in Naples, Italy. He delegates control of the operation to the Commander, Allied Air Forces Southern Europe, (COMAIRSOUTH) Lieutenant General Michael E. Ryan, U.S. Air Force, also headquartered in Naples. Operational control of day-to-day mission tasking is delegated to the Commander, 5th Allied Tactical Air Force, Lieutenant General Andrea Fornasiero, Italian Air Force, at Vicenza, Italy. Coordination between NATO and the UN has been arranged through an exchange of representatives between 5th ATAF and the United Nations Headquarters in Zagreb and Sarajevo. These liaison officers ensure a continuous exchange of information between NATO and UNPROFOR.


Almost 4,500 personnel from 12 NATO countries -- Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States -- are deployed for this NATO operation. NATO aircraft are available at air bases in France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the United Kingdom and on carriers in the Adriatic.


5 x Mirage F-1CR reconnaissance aircraft at

Istrana AB, Italy.

6 x Mirage 2000C fighter aircraft (NFZ) (plus 3 on

recall) at Cervia AB, Italy.

6 x Jaguar ground attack aircraft (CAS) (plus 1 on

recall) at Istrana AB.

6 x Mirage 2000K/D ground attack aircraft (CAS)

(plus 3 on recall) at Cervia AB.

6 x Super Etendard fighter bombers (CAS) on the

aircraft carrier when in the Adriatic

3 x F-1CT (CAS) on call at Istrana AB.

1 x C-135 air-to-air refuelling aircraft at

Istres, France.

1 x E-3F AEW at Avord.


14 x Tornado aircraft (UN Rapid Reaction Force

support), Piacenza AB, Italy.


8 x PA-200 Tornados (CAS) at Ghedi AB, Italy.

The Netherlands:

6 x F-16A fighter aircraft (NFZ) at Villafranca

AB, Italy.

7 x F-16A ground attack aircraft (CAS) at

Villafranca AB.

5 x F-16R reconnaissance aircraft at Villafranca



1 x CASA 212 support aircraft at Dal Molin

Military Airport, Vicenza, Italy.

8 x EF-18 fighter aircraft (CAS/NFZ) at Aviano AB,


2 x KC-130 air-to-air refuelling aircraft at

Aviano AB.


16 x F-16C fighter aircraft (NFZ) (plus 2 on

recall) at Ghedi AB, Italy.

United Kingdom:

6 x F-3 Tornado fighter aircraft (NFZ) at Gioia

del Colle AB, Italy.

10 x GR-7 Harrier aircraft (CAS) at Gioia del

Colle AB.

2 x GR-7 Harrier reconnaissance aircraft at Gioia

del Colle AB.

6 x Sea Harrier dual-role capable aircraft

(CAS/NFZ) on the British aircraft carrier (when in the Adriatic) .

2 x K-1 Tristar L-1011 air-to-air refuelling

aircraft at Palermo, Sicily (Italy).

2 x E-3D aircraft at Aviano AB.

United States:

8 x USAF F-15E (CAS) at Aviano AB.

12 x USMC F-18D dual role aircraft (CAS/NFZ), at

Aviano AB.

12 x USAF F-16C dual role capable aircraft

(CAS/NFZ) at Aviano AB.

8 x USAF F-16C/D dual role capable (CAS/NFZ) at

Aviano AB.

12 x USAF O/A-10 ground attack aircraft (CAS) at

Aviano AB.

4 x USAF EC-130 Airborne Battlefield Command and

Control Center aircraft (plus 1 on recall) at Aviano AB, Italy

3 x USAF EC-130 electronic warfare aircraft at

Aviano AB, Italy

4 x USAF AC-130 Gunship aircraft at Brindisi AB,


12 x USAF KC-135 air-to-air refuelling aircraft at

Pisa, Italy, and Istres, France.

6 x USAF EF-111A electronic warfare aircraft at

Aviano AB, Italy.

10 x USN EA-6B electronic warfare aircraft at

Aviano AB.

12 x USN FA-18C fighter aircraft (NFZ) on a US

aircraft carrier (when in the Adriatic).

6 x USN FA-C ground attack (CAS) on a US aircraft

carrier (when in the Adriatic).

5 x KC-10 air-to-air refueling aircraft at Genoa,


2 x C-21 Transportation aircraft at Capodichino

airport, Naples, Italy.

NATO Airborne Early Warning Force aircraft:

8 x E-3A aircraft at Geilenkirchen, Germany;

Trapani, Italy and Preveza, Greece. The French E-3F aircraft and those from the E-3A and E-3D Components of NATO's Airborne Early Warning Force (NAEWF) are supporting Operation DENY FLIGHT as well as the combined NATO/WEU Adriatic embargo enforcement Operation SHARP GUARD. The E-3A aircraft are flown by multi-national crews provided by 11 NATO nations.


Number of days since Operation DENY FLIGHT started = 888 "No-Fly" Zone fighter sorties flown over Bosnia-Herzegovina = 30,049 Close Air Support and Air Strike sorties over Bosnia-Herzegovina = 30,988 Sorties by NAEW, tanker, reconnaissance and support aircraft = 23,480


On 14 September 95, at 2000 GMT, air strikes were suspended to allow the implementation of an agreement with Bosnian Serbs, to include the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the Sarajevo exclusion zone.

On 10 September 95, a U.S. Navy ship, in support of NATO Operation "Deliberate Force," launched Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (T-LAMs) against Bosnian Serb air defence assets in northwestern Bosnia. Thirteen missiles were launched by the USS Normandy on station in the Adriatic. The launches began at 1841 (GMT), 2041 (CEDT).

On 5 September 95, after UN and NATO military commanders concluded that Bosnian Serbs had failed to demonstrate their intent to comply with UN demands, NATO aircraft resumed attacks on Bosnian-Serb military targets in Bosnia. On 2 September 95, the North Atlantic Council, taking note of a report by NATO military commanders, stated that the Bosnian-Serb reply to UN demands was not a sufficient basis for the termination of air strikes, and set out further conditions.

On 30 August 95, NATO aircraft began a series of airstrikes on Bosnian Serb military targets, after UN commanders determined that a mortar attack on the UN-designated safe area of Sarajevo on 28 August 95, came from a Bosnian Serb position. During this airstrike operation, called "Deliberate Force," a French Mirage jet with two crewmembers was shot down by a surface-to-air missile near Pale. A search and rescue operation was immediately begun, but the fate of the aircrew is still unknown. Airstrikes continued until early on 1 August 95, when UN and NATO commanders decided to temporary suspend them to permit meetings between UN and Bosnian Serb officials.

On 10 August 95, NATO and UN commanders signed a memorandum of understanding on the execution of NATO air operations for the protection of UN-designated "safe areas" in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The agreement followed the London Conference of 25 July 95 and the subsequent North Atlantic Council decisions of 26 July and 1 August 95.

On 4 August 95, four NATO aircraft attacked two Croatian Serb surface-to-air missile radar sites using anti-radiation "HARM" missiles. Two U. S. Navy EA- 6Bs and two U. S. Navy F-18Cs struck sites near Knin and Udbina in self- defence after the aircrafts' electronic warning devices indicated they were being targeted by anti-aircraft missiles.

On 11 July 95, in response to a request from the UNPROFOR, NATO aircraft conducted Close Air Support in the Srebrenica area of Bosnia-Herzegovina attacking ground targets identified by the UN forces.

On 8 June 95, the pilot of the NATO F-16C aircraft, who was shot down over western Bosnia on 2 June 1995, was successfully rescued by search and rescue forces. The rescue mission was launched early Thursday morning after the downed pilot established voice contact with a NATO aircraft in the vicinity. All forces involved in the rescue mission returned safely to their respective bases.

On 2 June 95, a U.S. F-16C flying an Operation DENY FLIGHT patrol mission was shot down over western Bosnia by a Bosnian Serb surface-to-air missile. Later in the day NATO received unconfirmed reports that the Bosnian Serb Army had recovered the pilot. NATO was not able to independently confirm this information.

On 25 and 26 May 95, NATO aircraft attacked a Bosnian-Serb ammunition depot at Pale, southeast of Sarajevo. These strikes were at the request of the United Nations in response to Serb shelling of U.N. safe areas. On 17 December 94, a French Etendard IV P jet on a NATO reconnaissance flight over Bosnia-Herzegovina was hit by ground fire and returned safely to an airbase in Italy. The aircraft which had taken off from the French aircraft carrier Foch received tail damage. The pilot was not injured.

On 23 November 94, following an attack the previous day on NATO aircraft by surface-to-air missiles, NATO reconnaissance aircraft were accompanied by escorts. The aircraft were illuminated by SAM radars, and in self defence attacked the SAM sites at Otoka and Dvor, firing anti-radiation "HARM" missiles. Later that same day, NATO carried out a strike against the Otoka SAM site, as it had been assessed as still posing a threat to NATO aircraft. On 21 November 94, NATO aircraft attacked the Ubdina airfield in Serb-held Croatia. The air strike, conducted at the request of, and in close coordination with, UNPROFOR, was in response to attacks which had been launched from that airfield against targets in the Bihac area of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the previous few days. It was carried out under the authority of the North Atlantic Council and United Nations Security Council Resolution 958. On 22 September 94, following a Bosnian Serb attack against a French armored personnel carrier (APC) near Sarajevo, NATO aircraft attacked a Bosnian Serb tank which was within the 20-kilometer exclusion zone around Sarajevo. The air strike was carried out at the request of UNPROFOR by a USAF OA-10 and two U.K. Jaguars operating in NATO Operation Deny Flight.

On 5 August 94, the Bosnian Serb Army (BA) seized a number of heavy weapons from the Ilidza Weapons Collection site in the Sarajevo Exclusion Zone, despite having been warned by UNPROFOR not to do so. At the request of UNPROFOR, NATO launched aircraft on the afternoon of 5 August to attack heavy weapons that were violating the Sarajevo Exclusion zone. Despite poor weather conditions the force, made up of Dutch, French, NATO, UK and US aircraft, were able to locate an M18 Tankbuster (a tracked 76mm anti-tank gun). This was attacked by two US A-10 aircraft who strafed it with 30mm ammunition. Following the air strike the BA returned the heavy weapons they had taken.

On 22 April 94, the NAC, responding to a request from the UN Secretary General, decided that the Bosnian Serb actions around the Gorazde safe area met the conditions identified by NATO on 2 August 1993 as grounds for air strikes. It required the Bosnian Serbs to immediately cease attacks against the safe area and to pull their forces back 3 km from the center of the city by 0001 GMT on 24 April 1994 and from that time allow UNPROFOR and humanitarian assistance free access to the city. Additionally, it declared a 20 km military exclusion zone around Gorazde and required all Bosnian Serb heavy weapons to be withdrawn by 0001 GMT on 27 April 1994. As a result of UN and NATO cooperation, effective compliance with the NATO ultimatums occurred and air strikes were not required.

On 22 April 94, the NAC decided that if the UN safe areas of Bihac, Srebrenica, Tuzla or Zepa were attacked by heavy weapons from any range or there was a concentration or movement of such weapons within 20 km of these areas then they would be declared military exclusion zones. NATO would back up such declarations with air power.

On 15 April 94, a French Etendard IVP reconnaissance aircraft safely returned to the French carrier Clemenceau after being hit by ground fire over the Gorazde area. On 16 April the pilot of a Sea Harrier from the British carrier HMS Ark Royal safely ejected over the same area after his aircraft was hit while attempting to conduct a CAS mission.

On 10 April 94, UNPROFOR military observers in Gorazde asked for NATO air protection. After approval by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, NATO close air support (CAS) was provided by two U.S. Air Force F-16Cs, which dropped bombs under the control of a UN forward air controller (FAC). The following day, UNPROFOR again requested air protection for UN personnel in Goradze. Two U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18A aircraft, under the control of a UN FAC, bombed and strafed targets.

On 12 March 94, NATO responded to the first UNPROFOR request for CAS. Aircraft were sent to provide protection for French troops who were being fired upon near Bihac in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Ultimately, the UNPROFOR Tactical Air Control Party did not request the aircraft to attack a ground target.

On 8 March 94, a Spanish CASA 212 transport aircraft, on a routine flight from Zagreb to Split, made a successful emergency landing at Rijeka Airport (Croatia) after being hit by groundfire while flying over Croatia. Four passengers on the aircraft were slightly injured by shrapnel. On 28 February 94, four NATO fighters shot down four fixed-wing aircraft violating the UN "No-Fly" zone. NATO Airborne Early Warning aircraft (NAEW) detected unknown tracks South of Banja Luka early that morning. Two NATO aircraft, U.S. Air Force F-16s, were vectored to the area and intercepted six GALEB/JASTREB aircraft. In accordance with the rules of engagement, two "land or exit the No-Fly Zone or be engaged" orders were issued which were ignored. While this was happening the violating aircraft dropped bombs. The NATO fighters engaged the planes, shooting down three of them. A second pair of NATO fighters, U.S. Air Force F-16s, arrived and shot down a fourth violator. The remaining two violators left the airspace of Bosnia- Herzegovina.

On 9 February 94, the North Atlantic Council (NAC) decided that 10 days after 2400 GMT, 10 February 1994, heavy weapons not removed from a 20 kilometer exclusion zone around Sarajevo or turned over to UN control would be subject to NATO air strikes. Such strikes would have been conducted in close coordination with the UN Secretary General. Furthermore, it authorized the Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH) to launch air strikes, at the request of the UN, against artillery or mortar positions in or around Sarajevo (including outside the exclusion zone) which are determined by the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) to be responsible for attacks against civilian targets in that city. The efforts of NATO and the UN resulted in the withdrawal of heavy weapons from Sarajevo or the placing of them under UN control.

On 2 August 93, the NAC decided to make immediate preparations for stronger measures, including air strikes, against those responsible for the strangulation of Sarajevo and other areas in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and for wide-scale interference with humanitarian assistance. On 9 August 1993 the NAC approved the military planning for air strikes options and stood ready to implement them.

NATO Operation DENY FLIGHT began at noon GMT on 12 April 93 with aircraft from France, the Netherlands and United States.

On 31 March 93, UN SCR 816 extended the ban to cover all flights not authorized by UNPROFOR and authorized member states to take all necessary measures, in event of further violations, to ensure compliance with the ban. The NAC approved NATO's plans for the enforcement of the ban on 8 April 1993 and notified the UN of their willingness to undertake the operation. NATO Operation DENY FLIGHT began at noon GMT on Monday, 12 April 1993 with aircraft from France, the Netherlands and the United States. At a NATO Foreign Ministers meeting on 10 June 1993, in response to UN Security Council Resolution 836, it was agreed NATO would provide protective air power in case of attacks against UNPROFOR in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This led to the deployment of CAS aircraft to the Southern Region. These forces have been providing cover for UNPROFOR since 22 July 1993.

On 16 October 92, NATO forces began monitoring flights in the airspace of Bosnia-Herzegovina in NATO Operation SKY MONITOR. This was in response to UNSCR 781 which requested member states to assist UNPROFOR to monitor the ban on military flights in that airspace. Monitoring was carried out by NAEW aircraft which were already involved in the naval monitoring and subsequent embargo operations in the Adriatic. Coverage was enhanced on 31 October 1992 when an additional NAEW orbit was established over Hungary with the support of the Hungarian and Austrian governments. The UN assessed that more than 500 flights violated the ban during the period 16 October 1992 to 12 April 1993.

(15 September 1995)

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