Operation IMPACT

Attention: Announcement

On July 11, 2018, the Prime Minister of Canada announced that Canada will command a new NATO training and capacity building mission in Iraq. Up to 250 CAF members will be deployed from Fall 2018 to Fall 2019.

Information: Aircraft sorties

As of July 13, 2018, Air Task Force-Iraq has flown 4410 sorties*:

  • CC-150T Polaris aerial refueller flew 1057 sorties. It delivered nearly 61 120 000 pounds of fuel to Coalition aircraft; and
  • CC-130J Hercules aircraft flew 1094 sorties. It delivered some 6 393 300 pounds of cargo.


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 when it lands.

 *This total includes 1378 sorties flown by CF-18 Hornets. They flew between October 30, 2014 and February 15, 2016. It also includes 881 sorties flown by a CP-140 Aurora. It flew between October 30, 2014 and December 11, 2017. For security reasons, we do not communicate the number of sorties flown by the CH-146 Griffon helicopters.

Video Gallery

Canada plays an important role in Iraq alongside its partners. The CAF efforts in support of the Global Coalition improve Iraqi security forces capabilities. These efforts help Iraq to achieve long-term success in keeping its territory and people secure.

A maximum number of about 850 CAF members are approved to serve on Operation IMPACT. This number includes those assigned to 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:

  • national command and control of Operation IMPACT personnel and operations
  • coordinating operations with the Coalition headquarters

The CAF operates an all-source intelligence centre as part of Joint Task Force-Iraq. It gathers information from a variety of sources. It is responsible for collecting, synthesizing, and analyzing this information.

This intelligence is then used for operational planning. It ultimately helps to:

  • protect Coalition forces
  • determine how to conduct Coalition operations

CAF members serve in key positions in Coalition headquarters around the Middle East. They have high-demand skills in planning and carrying out military operations.  These skills support and enable the Coalition and Iraqi security forces. The CAF members are experts in areas such as:

  • intelligence operations
  • targeting
  • command and control

JTF-I Detachment Erbil is made up of some 30 CAF members. It is known as Camp Érable. It is host to and directly supports:

  • the Tactical Aviation Detachment
  • the Canadian-led Coalition Role 2 medical facility

About 20 CAF engineers are delivering explosive threat training to the Iraqi security forces in Besmaya, Iraq. This training aims for the Iraqi security forces to be self-sufficient in the long term.

The CAF commands a Role 2 medical facility in northern Iraq. It has a mandate to provide lifesaving medical and surgical care to Coalition forces. Approximately 35 CAF members serve at this facility in roles that include:

  • senior leadership
  • physicians
  • nurses
  • medical technicians
  • laboratory and diagnostic imaging technicians
  • a dental team
  • support staff

Medical facility capabilities include:

  • resuscitation
  • damage control surgery
  • intensive care support
  • dental care
  • diagnostic imaging
  • a medical lab

The CAF also provides medical equipment and supplies for the facility.

Air Task Force- Iraq

Air Task Force- Iraq

Joint Task Force-Iraq includes a CAF air component.  Air Task Force-Iraq supports Coalition air operations with air assets and crews. This includes:

  • one CC-150 Polaris aerial refueller
  • two CC-130J Hercules tactical airlift aircraft. They support the movement of Coalition personnel and cargo in the region
  • a tactical aviation detachment. It includes up to four CH-146 Griffon helicopters. They carry Canadian troops, equipment, and supplies in theatre near Erbil. The Griffons can do casualty evacuations if required.  A variety of self-defence weapons are fitted to the aircraft
  • associated aircrew and support crews

These aircraft are an important part of Canada’s contribution to the Global Coalition.

Train, Advise and Assist

Train, Advise and Assist

Operation IMPACT includes highly-specialized CAF members from the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.  They train, advise and assist the Iraqi security forces in developing their military skills. This support enables the Iraqi security forces to take the fight to Daesh. As a result, they can work to remove the threat posed by Daesh in Iraq and the region and contribute to a more secure environment.

Under the command of JTF-I, Royal Canadian Engineers are also delivering the following training to Iraqi security forces:

  • explosive threat search
  • manual minefield breaching

This program focuses on the train-the-trainer approach, aiming for the ISF to be self-sufficient in the long term.

Capacity building

Capacity building

The CAF works with regional partners to help make the region more stable and secure. Military cooperation helps prevent the spread of violent extremism. To that end, the CAF has sent two training assistance teams, one to Jordan and one to Lebanon. They work closely with Canada’s Jordanian and Lebanese partners. The teams aim to:

  • help the Jordanian Armed Forces build their capacity
  • create a new program for the Lebanese Armed Forces to build their capacity

These capacity building programs may focus on:

  • individual soldier skills
  • infrastructure
  • individual soldier equipment

A Canadian brigadier-general leads the Global Coalition’s Ministerial Liaison Team. The team is supported by staff from eight countries, including Canada. It engages with the Iraqi Prime Minister’s staff. It also liaises with the Iraqi ministries of Defence and Interior. This liaison helps develop key military leaders and helps build institutional capacity. It ensures that current and future Coalition operations are in line with those of the government of Iraq.

Mission Context


Daesh is a terrorist organization which advocates radical interpretations of Islam. Originating in 1999, it rose to global prominence in 2014. At that time, it claimed religious authority over all Muslims. Its stated goal was to create a world-wide Islamic caliphate. It pursued that goal through extreme violence, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

The group began taking control of territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014. It captured Fallujah in Iraq in January 2014, and Mosul in June 2014. As it quickly advanced across Iraq and Syria, it committed numerous human rights violations and atrocities. Its actions:

  • displaced millions of people and caused the death of thousands
  • undermined stability in Iraq and the region
  • posed a threat to international security

Daesh had fighters across Iraq and Syria. A number of these were foreign recruits.

The group has also been known as:

  • the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
  • the Islamic State (IS)
  • the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)

International response

The Global Coalition was formed in September 2014. It has 77 members, including many of Canada’s closest allies and partners. It also includes important regional partners. 

The Coalition is committed to tackling Daesh on all fronts. The military campaign in Iraq and Syria has been effective. Daesh has lost more than 98% of the territory it once occupied. Over 7.7 million people have been liberated from its occupation.

The Coalition is supporting Iraqi Security Forces as they transition from major combat to stability operations. The emphasis is on training, logistics, intelligence, protecting borders, and counter-terrorism support.

Beyond the military campaign, the Coalition is also committed to:

  • tackling Daesh’s financing and economic infrastructure
  • preventing the flow of foreign terrorist fighters across borders
  • supporting stabilisation
  • restoring essential public services to areas liberated from Daesh
  • countering propaganda

Milestones/ Mission Timeline

Aug. / Sep. 2014 RCAF aircraft made 25 flights between August 28 and September 26, 2014. They delivered more than 1,600,000 pounds of military supplies to Iraq.
Oct. 28, 2014 All ATF-I air assets arrived in Kuwait.
Oct. 30, 2014 Two CF-188 Hornets, one CP-140 Aurora and one CC-150T Polaris flew their first missions as part of the Global Coalition. The two CF-188 Hornets did not conduct any airstrike during this first sortie. The first successful ATF-I missions confirmed that Canadian air assets had been integrated in the Global Coalition.
Nov. 2, 2014 CF-188 Hornets conducted Canada’s first combat airstrike on Daesh targets.
Mar. 30, 2015 The CAF mission was formally extended for as many as 12 months and expanded into Syria.
Feb. 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.
Feb. 8, 2016 The Government of Canada announced that the CAF will cease airstrike operations in Iraq and Syria by February 22, 2016.
Mar. 2016

The CAF ceased airstrike operations in Iraq and Syria.

May 2016 The all-source intelligence centre was stood up.
May 2016 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron sent three CH-146 Griffon helicopters to Northern Iraq to form a Tactical Aviation Detachment.
Oct. 6, 2016 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron assumed command of the Tactical Aviation Detachment.
Nov. 2016 The CAF assumed the lead of a Coalition Role 2 medical facility in Northern Iraq.
Mar. 31, 2017 The Government of Canada announced it has extended Operation IMPACT until June 30, 2017.
Apr. 24, 2017 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron assumed command of the Tactical Aviation Detachment of Air Task Force-Iraq from 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron.
Jun. 29, 2017 The Government of Canada announced it has renewed Operation IMPACT until March 31, 2019.
Jul. 12, 2017 A CC-130J Hercules flew its first sortie under Operation IMPACT.
Jul. 13, 2017 Brigadier-General Steven Whelan assumed the lead of the Global Coalition’s Ministerial Liaison Team (MLT).
Nov. 11, 2017 The CAF began delivering explosive threat training to Iraqi security forces.
Dec. 11, 2017 The CP-140 Aurora aircraft flew its last sortie under Operation IMPACT.
May 26, 2018 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron assumed command of the Tactical Aviation Detachment of Air Task Force-Iraq from 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron.
July 11, 2018 The Prime Minister of Canada announced that Canada will command a new NATO training and capacity building mission in Iraq from Fall 2018 to Fall 2019.

Delivery of military supplies to Iraq

The CAF delivered military supplies to Iraq in 2014.  Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft made 25 flights between August 28 and September 26. They carried more than 1,600,000 pounds (725,000 kilograms) of donated supplies. The supplies were delivered to security forces working in Baghdad and Erbil. The CAF worked with military partners, including the United Kingdom and the United States. The military supplies came from allied countries. They included:

  • small arms
  • ammunition
  • other military equipment


In June 2017, Canada allocated about $371.4 million over two years to support the cost of this renewed contribution to the Global Coalition against Daesh.

Related Links

Government of Canada


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