29 August, 1995 - 21 September 1995


Although initiated in response to the Bosnian Serb Army (BSA) shelling of the Sarajevo market place on August 28, 1995, Operation Deliberate Force was the culmination of events and related planning over a long period.

The warring factions disregard for UN mandates regarding Safe Areas and heavy weapons exclusion zones (EZs), targeting of NATO and UN aircraft and ground forces, and increased factional fighting during the Fall and Winter of 1994, dictated prudent military contingency planning.

Key Events

There were a number of key events which eventually lead to the decision for operation Deliberate Force.

As a result of these events, two plans were formulated.

Operation Dead Eye

Operation Dead Eye, an air protection plan to disrupt the integrated air defense system (IADS) in Bosnia and thus reduce the risk to NATO aircraft flying in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Dead Eye targets included:

Deliberate Force

Operation Deliberate Force, an air attack plan to reduce military capability to threaten or attack safe areas and UN forces. Deliberate Force targets included:

Deliberate Force targets were approved for planning through the Joint Targeting Board (JTB) process established by NATO and the UN.

The joint validation of targets was being properly considered and appropriately linked to UN/NATO mandated mission objectives.

The Dead-Eye NATO air protection plan targets were also reviewed.

Expiration Of Cease Fire

Detailed planning and refinement continued as events escalated through the Spring and Summer of 1995 following the expiration of the Carter cease-fire (December 1994 - March 1995). Key events:

At the London Conference on July 21, 1995, ministers agreed that "an attack on Gorazde will be met by substantial and decisive airpower".

NAC decisions of 25 July and 1 Aug 95 specified that further Bosnian Serb offensive action must be met with a firm and rapid response with the aim of deterring attacks on Safe Areas and responding, if necessary, through the timely and effective use of airpower...until attacks on or threats to the Safe Areas have ceased

Decision For Operation Deliberate Force

Using the latest NAC guidance, NATO air planners:

Operation Deliberate Force was briefed by Admiral Smith and Lt Gen Ryan to NATO Secretary General Willie Claes and General Joulwan (SACEUR) on August 3, 1995.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by Admiral Smith and Lt Gen Janvier, Force Commander UNPF which contained the joint UN/NATO arrangements for implementing the actions specified in the NAC and UN Security Council decisions (August 10, 1995).

Consistent with the MOU, and following coordination with Lt Gen Smith (COMD UNPROFOR), Lt Gen Ryan (COMAIRSOUTH) briefed the concept of operations for Operation Deliberate Force and obtained agreement in principle from CINCSOUTH and FC UNPF for both the operation and associated targets (August 14, 1995).

Additionally, in accordance with the MOU, an Air-Land Coordination Document was developed by COMAIRSOUTH, the NATO air component commander, COMD UNPROFOR in Sarajevo, and Maj Gen David Pennyfather at the Rapid Reaction Force Operational Staff Headquarters in Kiseljak, specifying the necessary operational details of joint/combined operations.

Operation Deliberate Force was triggered by a BSA mortar attack on Sarajevo on August 28, 1995, killing 38 civilians.

A Dual-Key decision was made by CINCSOUTH and FC UNPF to initiate air strikes (August 29, 1995).

Subsequently, COMAIRSOUTH directed COMFIVEATAF, Lt Gen Fornasiero, to launch NATO forces with an execution time planned for not earlier than 0200CET on August 30, 1995.

Events During Operation Deliberate Force

(All times Central European Time, CET)

August 30, 1995

August 31, 1995

September 1, 1995

September 2, 1995

September 3 and 4, 1995

September 5, 1995

September 6, 1995

September 7, 1995

September 8, 1995

September 9, 1995

September 10, 1995

September 11, 1995

September 12, 1995

September 13, 1995

September 14, 1995

September 20, 1995


NATO aircraft assigned to
Operation Deliberate Force
Nation Number Aircraft type Location
France 3 Mirage F-1 CT Istrana
5 Mirage F-1 CR Istrana
8 Jaguar Istrana
9 Mirage 2000 C Cervia
5 Mirage 2000 D Cervia
4 Mirage 2000 K Cervia
6 Super Etendard Foch
1 E-3 F Avord
1 C-135 FR Istres
8 Puma Brindisi / Split
Germany 8 Ecr Tornado Piacenza
GE 6 Tornado Piacenza
Italy 8 Tornado Ghedi
6 Amx Istrana
1 Boeing 707 tanker Pisa
1 C-130 Pisa
4 G-222 Pisa
NATO 4 E-3A Geilenkirchen
4 E-3A Trapani / prevesa
Netherlands 18 F-16A Villafranca
Spain 8 EF-18A Aviano
2 KC-130 Aviano
1 CASA 212 Vicenza
Turkey 18 F-16C Ghedi
United Kingdom 12 GR-7 Gioia del Colle
6 FMK-3 Gioia del Colle
2 L-1011 Palermo
6 FA-2 Invincible
2 E-3D Aviano
United States 12 O/A-10A Aviano
8 F-15E Aviano
12 F/A-18D Aviano
12 F-16C Aviano
10 EA-6B Aviano
10 F-16C (HTS) Aviano
3 EC-130H Aviano
4 EC-130E Aviano
4 AC-130H Brindisi
12 KC-135 Pisa / Istres
5 KC-10 Genova
7 MH-53J Brindisi
4 MC/HC-130P Brindisi
18 F-18C Uss Roosevelt / America
6 EF-111A Aviano

Non-NATO forces assigned to
Operation Deliberate Force
Nation Aircraft type Location
France Mirage IV Mont de marsan
United States U-2R Raf fairford
F-14 Uss Roosevelt / America
P-3 C Nas Sigonella
RC-135 Raf Mildenhall
E-2 Uss Roosevelt / America
S-3 Uss Roosevelt / America
HH-60 Uss Roosevelt / America
F-16C Aviano
F-15E Lakenheath
AV-8B Uss kearsage /wasp
United Kingdom GR-1B Gioia del colle
Canberra Marham
Nimrod Waddington
Germany BR-1150 Nordholz

Deliberate Force sortie
breakdown 29 Aug 95 - 14 Sep 95
Nation Sorties Total
France 284 8,1%
Germany 59 1,7%
Italy 35 1,0%
Netherlands 198 5,6%
Spain 121 3,4%
Turkey 78 2,2%
United Kingdom 326 9,3%
United States 2318 65,9%
NATO (NAEW) 96 2,7%
Total 3515 100,0%

Breakdown of sortie type
Role Total sorties % of total
CAP 294 8,4%
SEAD 785 22,3%
CAS/BAI 1372 39,0%
Recce 316 9,0%
Support 748 21,3%
Total 3515100,0%

Total sorties flown: 3515

Airstrikes were conducted on eleven days during the period August 29 - September 14, 1995

Munitions expenditures
Precision munitions
10 12 16 24 AS30L SLAM GBU-15 MAV
303 125 215 6 4 10 9 23 13 708
Non-precision munitions
Mk82 Mk83 Mk84 CBU-87  
175 99 42 2   318
Other munitions
20mm 30mm 40mm 105mm  
0 10086 50 350   10,486


GBU-10 2000 lb laser guided bomb
GBU-12 500 lb laser guided bomb
GBU-16 1000 lb laser guided bomb
GBU-24 2000lb laser guided bomb
AS30L Laser guided air-to-surface missile
SLAM Electro-optical Standoff Land Attack Missile
GBU-15 2000 lb TV / Infrared guided bomb
Maverick Electro-optical / infrared guided air-to-surface missile
Mk82 500 lb general purpose bomb
Mk83 1000 lb general purpose bomb
Mk84 2000 lb general purpose bomb
CBU-87 Combined Effects Munition
AGM88 High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile
TLAM Tomahawk Land Attack Missile
20mm cannon 20 millimeter air-to-air or air-to-surface projectile
30mm cannon 30 millimeter air-to-surface projectile
40mm cannon 40 millimeter air-to-surface projectile
105mm cannon105 millimeter air-to-surface projectile

[Source: NATO]