Operation Mobile

Operation Mobile
Operation Mobile
Part of 2011 military intervention in Libya
Coalition action against Libya.svg
Date 19 March - 31 October 2011
(226 days)
Location Libya
Result Muammar Gaddafi killed and Overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi's government
 Canada  Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Commanders and leaders
Canada Stephen Harper [1]
Canada Peter MacKay[2]

Royal Canadian Air Force ensign.svg Lieutenant General André Deschamps[3][4]
Royal Canadian Air Force ensign.svg Brigadier General André Viens [5][6]
Royal Canadian Air Force ensign.svg Colonel Alain Pelletier[7][8]
Royal Canadian Air Force ensign.svg Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel McLeod[9]
Naval Jack of Canada.svg Commander Craig Skjerpen[10]

LibyaMuammar Gaddafi 
Libya Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr 

Libya Ali Sharif al-Rifi
Libya Khamis Gaddafi 

570 personnel [10][11]
See Deployed forces
Casualties and losses
None Unknown

Operation Mobile is the name given to Canadian Forces activities in the 2011 military intervention in Libya.[10] The United States' counterpart to this is Operation Odyssey Dawn, the French counterpart is Opération Harmattan and the British counterpart is Operation Ellamy. The no-fly zone was proposed during the 2011 Libyan civil war to prevent government forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi from carrying out air attacks on Anti-Gaddafi forces and civilians. The surge of popular uprisings that swept the Arabic-speaking countries of North Africa and the Middle East is now known as the “Arab Spring” and began in the country of Tunisia on the 18th of December 2011. When demonstrations began in Libya, the government of Colonel Muammar Gaddhafi responded with systematic attacks by air and ground forces, and repression of the protesters. In a speech, Colonel Gaddafi promised to chase down the protesters and cleanse the country "house by house”. Several countries prepared to take immediate military action at a conference in Paris on 19 March.[12]

The no-fly zone is currently enforced by NATO's Operation Unified Protector.[13] NATO took sole command of all operations in Libya from 06:00 GMT on 31 March, which effectively ended the U.S. Operation Odyssey Dawn, as all U.S. operations were absorbed into NATO's Unified Protector.[14]


Canadian Forces

Royal Canadian Navy

On 1 March, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that HMCS Charlottetown would deploy from Halifax on 2 March to take part in Canadian and international operations already under way in Libya. The Charlottetown departed CFB Halifax, and joined the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 on 14 March, and arrived on station on 17 March.[15]

HMCS Charlottetown (FFH 339) is a Halifax-class frigate under the command of Commander Craig Skjerpen with a crew of about 240 officers and sailors, and a CH-124 Sea King helicopter and air detachment. With the other ships of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, HMCS Charlottetown is engaged in regional maritime security operations in the central Mediterranean Sea. As of 18 August, HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331) has taken the place of HMCS Charlottetown in the ongoing NATO mission in Libya. HMCS Charlottetown returned to Canada on 2 September.

Royal Canadian Air Force

Task Force Libeccio is the air detachment participating in the enforcement of the no-fly zone in Libya authorized by Resolution 1973, adopted by the U.N. Security Council on 17 March. The task force is named for the strong southwesterly wind that blows all year in the Mediterranean Sea. Task Force Libeccio comprises six CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft, two Boeing CC-177 Globemasters, two CP-140 Auroras and about 200 Canadian Forces personnel, including aircrews and ground technicians from 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron at 4 Wing CFB Cold Lake and other locations across Canada. The force also includes two CC-150 Polaris air-to-air refuelling detachment from 437 (Transport) Squadron at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario.[10] Task Force Libeccio reached the region on 18 March.[16]

CF-18 Hornets and CC-150 Polaris assets are based at Trapani-Birgi airbase in Sicily, Italy.

CP-140 Aurora aircraft are based at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy

• Trapani Detachment: • o Seven CF-188 Hornet fighter aircraft (three pairs and a spare) from 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta; o Three transport aircraft configured as in-flight refuellers (tankers): o  two CC-150 Polaris tanker from 437 Transport Squadron at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, and  one CC-130J Hercules airlifter from 436 Transport Squadron at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario; and o The Mission Support Flight. • Sigonella Detachment: • o Two CP-140 Aurora aircraft, one from 405 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia, and the other from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia. as of 0530 hrs GMT, 25 October 2011 Sorties to date* CF-188 Hornet fighters 946 CC-150 Polaris tankers 250 CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft 181 CC-130J Hercules airlifters 23 CC-130 Hercules tankers** 139

Deployed forces

External images
CF-18 Hornet
CF-18 Hornet
CF-18 Hornet
CC-150 Polaris
CH-124 Sea King
HMCS Charlottetown
CP-140 escorted by two CF-188
CC-177 Globemaster III

An additional six CF-18s were placed on standby in Canada, ready to deploy immediately if called upon.[20]

Summary of action

  • Day 1: 21 March

Four CF-18 fighters and two CC-150 Polaris refuellers operating from Trapani-Birgi Airport flew their first mission in Libya on 21 March, acting as armed escorts to coalition jets conducting bombings. Canada expected to take part in bombings as soon as the following night.[20] HMCS Charlottetown also began patrolling the waters north of Libya in order to help to enforce an embargo on Gadhafi.[21]

Defence Minister Peter MacKay stated that another six CF-18 fighter jets are on standby to deploy if needed.[22]

  • Day 2: 22 March

Two CF-18s again flew missions on Tuesday, 22 March. However they had to abandon their planned attack on a Gaddafi Libyan airfield as the high possibility of collateral damage was against the strict rules of engagement.[23] For a second day a CC-150 tanker refueled Canadian aircraft as well as other coalition aircraft.[24]

  • Day 3: 23 March

The third day marked the first time Canadian jets bombed Libya since the campaign began. This occurred as four CF-18s flew two missions against an ammunition depot in Misrata, dropping four 227 kg (500-pound) laser-guided bombs,[25] and supported by two CC-150 Polaris tankers.[26]

In other developments, Commodore John Newton, of the Royal Canadian Navy stated that the crew of HMCS Charlottetown are prepared to conduct boarding operations and has been training for search and rescue of downed pilots.[27]

  • Day 4: 24 March

Two CF-18 flew two air interdiction patrols over Libyan airspace. A CC-150 Polaris took part of the operations providing fuel for Canadian and other coalition aircraft.[28] Defence Minister Peter MacKay announces Canada will send two CP-140 Auroras to provide maritime surveillance in support of the United Nations arms embargo against Libya.[29] The Canadian Forces has deployed 80 personnel from 14 Wing Greenwood and 19 Wing Comox.

  • Day 5: 25 March

Two CF-18 conducted one sortie and released several precision-guided munitions against electronic warfare sites near Misrata.[30] Two CC-150 also took part of operation and refueled both Canadian and coalition aircraft.[30] The HMCS Charlottetown has patrolled the north of Libya and has investigated a vessel in distress.[30]

  • Day 7: 27 March

A second ammunition depot, this time located 92 kilometres south of Misrata, was destroyed in an operation by four CF-18s utilizing 227 kg (500-pound) laser-guided bombs; in addition CF-18s coordinated other attacks involving up to 20 other coalition aircraft. Enforcing the arms embargo a CP-140A Aurora flew the first Canadian Maritime Patrol mission.[31]

  • Day 9: 29 March

Tuesday saw two CF-18s fly on a mission to help the rebels by attacking targets in Misrata.[32] Canadian CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft recently started a psychological warfare operation over Libya using airborne leaflet propaganda and radio transmissions.[33] The recently started broadcast of propaganda messages over Libyan territory has led to the Gaddafi regime trying to jam the transmissions via electronic warfare.[34]

  • Day 11: 31 March

From 06:00 GMT, NATO took sole command of air operations over Libya under Operation Unified Protector, taking over from U.S. Africa Command.[14][35][36]

  • Day 32: 21 April

Pilots have flown more than 100 missions over Libya since the beginning of the operation MOBILE. During the past week they were deployed 38 times. They attacked armoured vehicles, ammunition depots, and mobile rocket launchers.[37]

  • Day 54: 13 May

The HMCS Charlottetown was involved in a naval battle near the port city of Misrata. The Charlettetown was conducting patrols at around 2 a.m. local time with other Allied warships when a number of fast, small boats launched an attack. No warships sustained any damage.[38][39][40]

This is the first time since Korea War that a Canadian warship is involved in a naval battle.[41]

  • Day 60: 19 May

Canadian pilots have participated in NATO air strikes that destroyed eight Libyan warships. The HMCS Charlottetown has also participated in the operation.[42]

  • Day 68: 27 May

Canadian Pilots have dropped 240 laser-guided bombs on Libyan targets since 31 March.[43]

  • Day 74: 2 June

On Monday morning, the HMCS Charlottetown was under heavy fire. The Libyan army had deployed a dozen BM21 at the port city of Mistrata and opened fire against the Canadian warship. Charlottetown did not return fire and did not sustain damage.[44]

  • Day 88: 16 June

During the preceding week throughout four days CF-18 destroyed armoured vehicles, field headquarters, ammunition depots and command-and-control structures with laser guided bombs. During the same week, CF-18s had to be recalled to one target because the laser-targeting system on an allied jet failed.[45][46]

  • Day: 10 July

HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331) under the command of Commander Bradly Peats, with 225 crew members and a detachment from 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron, departed CFB Esquimalt en-route to the Mediterranean Sea to relieve HMCS Charlottetown (FFH 339) which has been on station off the Libyan coast since March. [47]

  • Day: 29 July

Canadian CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft recently started a psychological warfare operation over Libya.[33] The surveillance aircraft recently started broadcasting propaganda messages over Libyan territory while the Gaddafi regime has tried to jam the transmissions using electronic warfare.[48]

  • Day: 18 August

A change of command ceremony was held in Palma de Mallorca, Spain where HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331) officially relieved HMCS Charlottetown (FFH 339). The ceremony officially marked that Task Force Charlottetown became Task Force Vancouver, and the Task Force command was transferred from Commander Craig Skjerpen to Commander Bradley Peats. [49]

  • Day: As directed by the Government of Canada, Operation MOBILE (Canada's military response to the crisis in Libya) has ceased operations and commenced mission closure activities as of 1 November, 2011.

See also


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  2. ^ "Canadians find risk too great, abandon planned attack". CTV.ca. CTVGlobemedia, 22 March 2011. http://calgary.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110322/canadian-cf-18s-operation-odyssey-dawn-libya-110322/20110322/?hub=CalgaryHome. Retrieved 22 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "Libya: Canada to send fighter jets for no-fly zone". BBC News, 18 March 2011. 18 March 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12781682. Retrieved 21 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "Biography of Chief of the Air Staff". Canada's Air Force, 2011. http://www.airforce.forces.gc.ca/v2/page-eng.asp?id=28. Retrieved 22 March 2011. 
  5. ^ "Operation MOBILE: National Defence and Canadian Forces Response to the Situation in Libya". National Defence and the Canadian Forces, 22 March 2011. http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/feature-vedette/2011/02/updates-misesajour/03-22-2011-eng.asp. Retrieved 22 March 2011. 
  6. ^ "[Brigadier-General Viens, J.Y.R.A., CD". National Defence and the Canadian Forces, 22 March 2011. http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dsa-dns/sa-ns/ab/sobv-vbos-eng.asp?mAction=View&mBiographyID=142. Retrieved 22 March 2011. 
  7. ^ "Sécurité nationale: Six CF-18 de Bagotville participent à la mission en Libye (in French)". Les nouvelles Sympatico.ca, 18 March 2011. http://nouvelles.sympatico.ca/regions/securite_nationale_six_cf-18_de_bagotville_participent_a_la_mission_en_libye/cd19af23. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "Colonel Pelletier, J.P.A. , CD". Forces.gc.ca, 18 March 2011. http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dsa-dns/sa-ns/ab/sobv-vbos-eng.asp?maction=view&mbiographyid=881. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "Air Expeditionary Wing Sicily". DND/CF, 23 August 2011. http://www.comfec-cefcom.forces.gc.ca/pa-ap/ops/mobile/index-eng.asp#AirExpeditionaryWS. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Operation MOBILE". DND, 21 March 2011. http://www.cefcom-comfec.forces.gc.ca/pa-ap/ops/mobile/index-eng.asp. Retrieved 21 March 2011. 
  11. ^ Murphy, Jessica. "Le Canada augmente ses effectifs" (in French). Canoe Info, 7 April 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2011.}
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  22. ^ Campion-Smith, Bruce (21 March 2011). "Canadian fighter jets fly first mission in Libyan no-fly zone". The Toronto Star (Toronto). http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/957514--canadian-fighter-jets-fly-first-mission-in-libyan-no-fly-zone. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
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