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.
There were a number of key events which eventually lead to the decision for operation Deliberate Force.
- September 1994 - Ministers of Defense met informally in Seville to discuss proposals for more timely and effective use of NATO airpower.
- October 1994 - Several meetings of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) and meetings between NATO and UN representatives took place resulting in agreement on revised standards for the application of NATO airpower.
- November 1994 - NATO airstrike on Udbina airfield in Krajina Serb-held Croatia in response to attacks by fighters from that airfield on the Bihac Safe Area.
- November 1994 - NATO airstrikes on surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites in Northwest B-H in response to attacks from those sites on NATO aircraft.
- November-December 1994 - North Atlantic Council decisions expanding authorization to respond to the air defense threat to NATO aircraft.
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:
- Key air defense communications nodes
- Air defense command and control facilities
- Early warning radar sites
- Known surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites
- SAM support facilities
Operation Deliberate Force, an air attack plan to reduce military capability to threaten or attack safe areas and UN forces. Deliberate Force targets included:
- Fielded forces/heavy weapons
- Command and control facilities
- Direct and essential military support facilities
- Supporting infrastructure/lines of communication
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:
- Dual-key NATO airstrikes on Pale ammunition storage depot, May 25-26, 1995, in response to:
- BSA artillery fire into Sarajevo from UN-monitored weapons collection points near Sarajevo.
- BSA removal of weapons from weapons collection points and continued shelling of the Safe Area.
- BSA take UN hostages as a response to NATO airstrikes.
- BSA shoot-down a NATO F-16, June 2, 1995.
- BSA overrun the Srebrenica Safe Area, July 11, 1995.
- BSA lay siege to the Zepa Safe Area in mid-July (Zepa falls on July 26, 1995).
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
- Graduated NATO air operation triggered by:
- Any concentration of forces and/or heavy weapons, and the conduct of other military preparations which, in the common judgement of the NATO and UN military commanders, presents a direct threat to the safe areas, or
- Direct attacks (e.g. ground, shelling, or aircraft) on the Safe Areas
- Authorized operations to support the defense of the Safe Areas within a wider zone of action (ZOA) than had previously been considered
Decision For Operation Deliberate Force
Using the latest NAC guidance, NATO air planners:
- Developed individual air attack plans for the defense of each Safe Area.
- Further refined the Dead-Eye air protection plan.
- Integrated individual plans into a comprehensive graduated air strike plan under the name of Operation Deliberate Force.
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
- Initial strike package cleared "feet dry" into Bosnia-Herzegovina from the Adriatic at 0140 by the CAOC Director, Maj Gen Hornburg.
- First bomb impact at 0212.
- Strike packages attacked IADS targets in SE B-H followed by 5 waves of strikes on targets in the vicinity of Sarajevo.
- Pre- and post-strike recce, Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) coverage for all packages, close air support (CAS), and UN Rapid Reaction Force (RRF) artillery fire were deconflicted and coordinated for entire period.
- Around the clock coverage was provided by combat air patrol (CAP), air refueling (AAR), NATO airborne early warning (NAEW), airborne battlefield command, control and communications (ABCCC), and electronic intelligence/ surveillance (ELINT/ESM) aircraft.
- At 1716, EBRO 33, a French Mirage 2000K was shot down by a man-portable surface-to-air missile, 20 NM SE of Pale; two good chutes were observed; efforts to locate and rescue the downed aircrew continued around the clock, supported by a wide variety of NATO and National assets, for the duration of operation Deliberate Force.
August 31, 1995
- Three strike packages attacked targets in the Sarajevo area.
- Majority of targets attacked were IADS nodes, ammo depots and equipment storage and maintenance facilities.
- Continuous CAS and SEAD coverage provided.
- A 24 hour suspension of air strikes beginning at 0400, 1 Sep 95 was requested by COMD UNPROFOR in support of negotiation efforts.
September 1, 1995
- Request for a 24 hour suspension of air strikes honored; planned strike packages placed on ground alert status.
- Recce missions focused on bomb damage assessment (BDA).
- German assets were tasked following RRF request for recce.
- RRF artillery continued to fire on BSA positions.
- Uninterrupted CAP, NAEW, AAR, ABCCC, ELINT/ESM, and daylight CAS and SEAD continued.
September 2, 1995
- 24-hour suspension extended for an undetermined period while diplomatic solutions were pursued.
- Eight strike packages were planned and placed on alert status.
- Despite poor weather, CAP, AEW, AAR, ABCCC, and ELINT provided continuous coverage while CAS and SEAD capable aircraft were airborne
September 3 and 4, 1995
- Suspension of airstrikes extended to 2300, 4 September 1995 by FC UNPF.
- Five strike packages were planned and placed on alert status.
- NATO combat and combat support aircraft maintained a presence around the clock.
- RRF Artillery continued firing on threatening BSA positions.
September 5, 1995
- Negotiations were unsuccessful and at 1000, in coordination with the UN, NATO airstrikes resumed.
- The air strike plan continued with the introduction of re-strike targets identified through the BDA process as requiring additional
attacks to achieve the desired level of destruction.
September 6, 1995
- Continuing efforts to locate and rescue the downed French aircrew resulted in acquisition of ground indications (imagery) which justified the launch of a pre-planned reconnaissance mission.
A NATO helo-borne search and rescue reconnaissance mission, supported by the full range of NATO airpower, was launched in early morning hours.
Mission turned back by poor weather.
- Five strike packages and one re-strike package were launched.
- Target categories were as for earlier packages with the addition of key bridges and chokepoints as required to meet COMD UNPROFOR objectives.
- Italian Tornados flew airstrike missions for the first time
September 7, 1995
- A second helo-borne reconnaissance mission to locate and rescue the French aircrew was launched and an extensive search conducted, but dense ground fog impeded efforts.
- Six strike and two re-strike packages were tasked and flown.
- Missions were added late in the day against seven targets - six of them bridges and chokepoints, consistent with COMD UNPROFOR's assessment of the ground situation.
September 8, 1995
- A third helo-borne reconnaissance mission to locate and rescue the French aircrew was executed.
- Weather was good and a thorough search of the area was performed without result.
- Mission came under attack from small arms fire; suppressing fire was provided by escorting gunship and fighter aircraft.
- Two helicopter crew members were wounded and a helo damaged on egress, but all mission aircraft/aircrew recovered safely.
Note: Efforts to locate and rescue the downed French aircrew continued until September 28, 1995 when French authorities informed CINCSOUTH of their conviction that the French aircrew had been recovered alive and taken into custody by the Bosnian Serbs. CINCSOUTH indicated while search and rescue efforts have been suspended for the present, he is prepared to resume search missions or initiate recovery efforts at any time they are deemed necessary.
- Planning for attacks on IADS targets in NW B-H was refined; final preparations were made for the use of stand-off weapons which allowed targets in well defended areas to be attacked from outside the range of enemy air defenses.
- Four strike packages were tasked against fifteen re-strike targets.
- Nineteen CAS aircraft were re-tasked against eight fixed targets.
- Recce assets continued to be tasked to gather BDA data.
September 9, 1995
- Five strike packages planned; two aborted because of weather; three were delayed but successfully conducted planned attacks.
- Stand-off weapons including High Speed Anti-radiation Missiles (HARM) and GBU-15, 2000 lb glide bombs employed against IADS targets in well-defended NW Bosnia-Herzegowina.
- Reports of possible BSA vehicles moving out of Sarajevo late at night resulted in a temporary suspension of airstrikes against targets in the immediate vicinity of Sarajevo.
September 10, 1995
- Strike packages struck targets which were not previously attacked because of weather.
- Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM), HARM and other stand-off weapons including the Stand-Off Land Attack Missile (SLAM) used to attack key IADS nodes in NW Bosnia-Herzegowina.
- COMD UNPROFOR requested suspension of strikes on targets in the immediate vicinity of Sarajevo to assess BSA intentions to remove heavy weapons - strike packages re-planned for targets outside the Sarajevo area.
- Recce mission tasking was increased in support of the effort to verify reports of BSA removal of weapons from Sarajevo.
- At 1425, UN requested CAS support following BSA shelling of UN positions near the Tuzla airport; three flights of fighters supported the CAS request; two command bunkers and an artillery position were identified, targeted and successfully engaged.
September 11, 1995
- Four strike packages planned against ten targets taking advantage of favorable weather conditions.
- Additional attacks using stand-off weapons conducted in NW Bosnia-Herzegowina.
- Additional recce missions tasked to support on-going efforts to refine target damage assessments and develop re-strike requirements.
September 12, 1995
- Ammo storage depots in the Doboj area northwest of Tuzla were attacked; these targets were approved on September 11, 1995, following BSA shelling of the Tuzla airport on September 10, 1995.
- Strike packages assigned re-strike missions placed on alert, then launched after validated re-strike targets assigned and strike plans coordinated and briefed.
September 13, 1995
- Stand-off weapons used to complete attacks on IADS targets in NW Bosnia-Herzegowina.
- Poor weather was a factor all day; result was a significant reduction in tempo - over 40% of the day sorties did not fly.
- After 2000, only SEAD and CAS aircraft continued to operate over Bosnia-Herzegowina.
September 14, 1995
- At 0930, all missions except AEW and AAR were put on three hour alert due to continued poor weather.
- Offensive operations were suspended at 2200 in response to an FC UNPF letter to CINCSOUTH; representatives of the warring factions had agreed to the conditions set out in the UN-brokered Framework Agreement:
- Cease all offensive operations within the Sarajevo TEZ
- Remove heavy weapons from the TEZ within 144 hours
- Unimpeded road access to Sarajevo
- Sarajevo Airport opened for unrestricted use
- BIH and BSA commanders meet to formalize a cessation of hostilities agreement
- The initial suspension would last 72 hours (September 17, 1995)
- Compliance with initial conditions would result in an additional 72 hour suspension after which UN/NATO would review progress toward full compliance with the Framework Agreement (September 20, 1995)
September 20, 1995
- UN/NATO agree Deliberate Force objectives met, mission accomplished and end states achieved (Safe Areas no longer threatened or under attack)...Adm Smith and Gen Janvier therefore agreed that "the resumption of air strikes is currently not necessary."
|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 sorties flown: 3515
- Penetrating sorties (CAS, BAI, SEAD, RECCE, SAR/CSAR): 2470
- Support sorties (NAEW, ABCCC, ELINT/ESM, AAR,): 1045
Airstrikes were conducted on eleven days during the
period August 29 - September 14, 1995
- Target complexes: 48
- Individual targets within target complexes: 338
|LGB/GBU ||Guided EO/IR ||TLAM ||Total
|10 ||12 ||16 ||24 ||AS30L ||SLAM ||GBU-15 ||MAV
|303 ||125 ||215 ||6 ||4 ||10 ||9 ||23 ||13 ||708
|Mk82 ||Mk83 ||Mk84 ||CBU-87 ||
|175 ||99 ||42 ||2 || ||318
|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 cannon||105 millimeter air-to-surface projectile