Operation IMPACT

Operation IMPACT is the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) contribution to the Middle East Stabilization Force (MESF) – the multinational coalition to halt and degrade Daesh.

Under Operation IMPACT, the CAF conducts air operations, provides training and assistance to the Iraqi security forces, provides capacity building capabilities to regional forces, and supports the coalition with highly-skilled personnel.

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Aircraft sorties

As of October 22, 2016, Air Task Force-Iraq has conducted 2,582 sorties*:

  • CC-150T Polaris aerial refueller conducted 589 sorties, delivering some 34,350,000 pounds of fuel to coalition aircraft; and
  • CP-140 Aurora aircraft conducted 615 reconnaissance missions.

Definition - sortie: in air operations, a sortie refers to an operational flight by one aircraft. A sortie starts when one aircraft takes off and ends upon landing.

*This total includes 1378 sorties conducted by CF-18 Hornets between October 30, 2014 and February 15, 2016.

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Through the CAF efforts in support of the MESF, Canada is playing an important role, alongside its partners, in setting the conditions for Iraqi security forces to achieve long-term success through self-sustainable security.

The total number of CAF members deployed under Operation IMPACT is increasing from approximately 650 to approximately 830, which includes the train, advise, and assist mission in support of the Iraqi security forces.

Joint Task Force-Iraq

Joint Task Force-Iraq

Joint Task Force-Iraq is responsible for the national command and control of Operation IMPACT personnel and operations, and for the coordination of operations with the coalition headquarters.

As a part of Joint Task Force-Iraq, the CAF operates an all-source intelligence centre, responsible for collecting, synthesizing, and analyzing information from a variety of sources. This intelligence is then used to inform operational planning, ultimately contributing to the protection of Coalition forces and the conduct of Coalition operations.

CAF personnel with high-demand skillsets support and enable the coalition and Iraqi security forces in the planning and execution of military operations. These personnel have expertise in areas such as intelligence operations; social media exploitation; targeting; and command and control.

As well, personnel, including operational planners and liaison officers, are supporting allies at coalition centers and headquarters in the region.

Air Task Force- Iraq

Air Task Force- Iraq

As part of Joint Task Force-Iraq, Air Task Force-Iraq contributes to coalition air operations against Daesh, including:

  • one CC-150 Polaris aerial refueller to support coalition air operations;
  • up to two CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft to contribute to coalition intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities; and
  • associated aircrew and support personnel.

These aircraft represent an important part of the Canadian contribution to the MESF.

Train, Advise and Assist

Train, Advise and Assist

The deployed CAF members are training, advising, and assisting the Iraqi security forces in developing their military skills. This is enabling the Iraqi security forces to take the fight to Daesh in order to remove the threat posed by this group in Iraq and the region.

A Tactical Aviation Detachment comprising up to four CH-146 Griffon helicopters is providing in-theatre tactical transport to Canadian troops and material near Erbil. The Griffons are capable of providing casualty evacuations if required.  A variety of self-defence weapons are fitted to the aircraft for the deployment.

The addition of personnel with high-demand skillsets and the delivery of critical equipment are contributing to creating the security environment necessary to deal with the threat posed by Daesh. In order to enhance the advise and assist mission, the CAF is:

  • augmenting the number of CAF advisors to help train the Iraqi security forces in the planning and execution of military operations against Daesh;
  • providing equipment such as small arms, ammunition and optics to assist in the training of Iraqi security forces;
  • deploying CAF medical personnel to provide battlefield casualty management training to Iraqi security forces as well as medical support to CAF personnel and our partners.
Capacity building

Capacity building

The Canadian Armed Forces is seeking opportunities to expand military cooperation with regional partners to enhance security and stability in the region and prevent the spread of violent extremism. To that end, the CAF is seeking opportunities to:

  • augment the current capacity building program for the Jordanian Armed Forces; and
  • create a new capacity building program for the Lebanese Armed Forces.

The Global Coalition’s Ministerial Liaison Team is led by Canadian Brigadier-General David Anderson and is supported by staff from eight countries, including Canada. The team engages with the Iraqi Prime Minister’s staff, and the ministries of Defence and Interior to promote the development of key military leaders and build institutional capacity. This ensures that Coalition activities, such as current and future operations, are synchronized with those of the government of Iraq.

Mission Context

About Daesh

Daesh was founded in Iraq in October 2004 when the leader of Jamaat al-Tawhid wal-Jihad aligned with Al-Qaeda, creating what was then known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The group has also been known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Islamic State (IS), and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Daesh advocates radical interpretations of Islam and claims religious authority over all Muslims. It aims to create a caliphate in the Levant region – which includes Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Lebanon, Cyprus and a part of southern Turkey – by converting or killing non-Sunni populations. Its ultimate objective is the establishment of a world-wide Islamic caliphate.

It is estimated that Daesh has between 25, 000 and 30,000 fighters in total across Iraq and Syria, of which a number are foreign recruits. The group has acquired equipment including tanks, artillery pieces and other light vehicles, mainly stolen from Iraqi and Syrian military installations.

International response

The group began taking control of territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014, starting with Fallujah in Iraq in January 2014 and culminating with the fall of Mosul in June 2014. Its rapid advance across Iraq and Syria has displaced millions of people, has undermined stability in Iraq and the region, and poses a threat to international security.

On August 7, 2014, United States President Barack Obama authorised targeted military intervention in Iraq.  A United States-led coalition that includes many of Canada’s closest allies and partners, as well as important regional partners, is working to degrade Daesh.

Milestones/ Mission Timeline

  • Between August 28 and September 26, 2014, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft conducted 25 flights to deliver more than 1,600,000 pounds of military supplies to Iraq.
  • October 28, 2014 – All ATF-I air assets arrived in Kuwait.
  • October 30, 2014 – Two CF-188 Hornets, one CP-140 Aurora and one CC-150T Polaris conducted their first missions as part of the MESF. The two CF-188 Hornets did not conduct any airstrike during this first sortie. The successful conduct of the first ATF-I missions confirmed the integration of Canadian air assets in the MESF.
  • November 2, 2014 – CF-188 Hornets conducted Canada’s first combat airstrike on Daesh targets.
  • March 30, 2015 – The CAF mission was formally extended for as many as 12 months and expanded into Syria.
  • February 8, 2016 – The Government of Canada announced its renewed and enhanced whole-of-government approach to the fight against Daesh. The mission was extended until March 31, 2017.
  • February 8, 2016  – The Government of Canada announced that the CAF will cease airstrike operations in Iraq and Syria by February 22, 2016.
  • February 15, 2016 – The CAF ceased airstrike operations in Iraq and Syria.
  • March 5, 2016 – The CAF officially began to transition its air support to Coalition operations.
  • March 2016 – The Coalition Ministerial Liaison Team, led by Canadian Brigadier-General David Anderson, was launched.
  • May 2016 – The all-source intelligence centre was stood up and began supporting Coalition operations.
  • May 2016 – 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron deployed three CH-146 Griffon helicopters to Northern Iraq to form a Tactical Aviation Detachment.
  • October 6, 2016 – 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron assumed command of the Tactical Aviation Detachment.

Delivery of military supplies to Iraq

Between August 28 and September 26, 2014, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft conducted 25 flights to deliver more than 1,600,000 pounds (725,000 kilograms) of military supplies to Iraq. The donations from allied countries included small arms, ammunition and other military equipment. The supplies were delivered in concert with military partners including the United Kingdom and the United States, to security forces working in Baghdad and Erbil.


Canada will allocate approximately $305.9 million towards the extension and refocusing of the mission. This includes $41.9 million to be allocated for redeployment of personnel and equipment in 2016-17.

External Links

Government of Canada


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