International Information

International Operation Name: Operation ALLIED FORCE

International Mission Name: Operation ALLIED FORCE

Mandating Organization: United Nations Security Council resolution 1199, 23 September 1998 (Chapter VII)
North Atlantic Council, 23 March 1999

Region Name: Europe

Location: Kosovo

Mission Date: 23 March 1999 - 20 June 1999

Mission Mandate: On 23 March 1999, the North Atlantic Council authorized Operation Allied Force (OAF) in support of UN Security Council resolution 1199. The mandate of OAF was five-fold:

  • To ensure a verifiable end to all violence and repression in Kosovo;
  • To ensure the withdrawal of all Serbian military, police and para-military forces from Kosovo; 
  • To produce an agreement on the stationing of international military forces in Kosovo;
  • To allow the safe return of refugees and allow the unhindered access of humanitarian agencies to them; and
  • To provide a credible assurancce of the Serbian willingness to use the Rambouillet Accords as a basis for reaching a political settlement on the situation in Kosovo. 

Mission/Operation Notes: As the former Yugoslavia continued its break-up through 1998, tensions between ethnic Albanians and the security forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Yugoslavia) escalated in Kosovo in early 1998. As Yugoslav forces violently broke-up peaceful demonstrations and increasingly intimidated civilians, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) attacked Yugoslav forces in a guerrilla campaign. The UN Security Council approved Resolution 1160 demanding that all parties cease hostilities and that peaceful political processes be followed to resolve issues.

Ignoring the resolution, Yugoslav forces and the KLA stepped up the level of their aggressions with the result that by the summer of 1998 hundreds of civilians had been killed and over 300,000 forced out of their homes. In response, the Security Council passed Resolution 1199 on 23 September, demanding that all parties cease hostilities and more importantly that further actions would be considered if stability were not restored. Accordingly, the North Atlantic Council activated Operation Determined Force (ODF) on 13 October in an effort to show NATO’s resolve. ODF did allow for the use of limited air strikes, such as against military targets, and also for a potential escalation of the use of force. 

NATO nations quickly responded to the activation order. Aircraft from 12 nations soon arrived in the area around the Balkans, with 14 nations supporting the operation. By 27 October, over 300 aircraft had deployed to airbases in France, Germany, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom, as well as aircraft carriers in the Adriatic. On 15 October 1998, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic agreed to a cease-fire and to withdraw those forces that had been mobilized and sent to Kosovo. He also accepted international verification of his compliance. NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) signed agreements with Yugoslavia creating Operation Eagle Eye and the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission respectively. NATO also planned an extraction force for a contingency extraction of personnel from Kosovo - Operation Determined Guarantor.

Through late 1998 and into early 1999, the violence of the KLA and Yugloslav forces escalated. NATO’s Contact Group began negotiations involving both parties in Rambouillet, France on 6 February 1999. While an accord was reached, on 19 March Yugoslavia rejected the Rambouillet Accords. With the rejection of the Accord, the escalation of violence - especially by Yugoslav forces in Kosovo – and the failure of Yugoslavia to heed warnings from NATO, NATO’s Secretary-General authorized Operation Allied Force on 23 March, with operations beginning on 24 March. This ended Operation DETERMINED FORCE.

Operation Allied Force flew its first sorties at 1900 GMT on 24 March. The air campaign lasted until 10 June. Supporting the air and naval operations were E3A aircraft of the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force (NAEWF). For the operation two E3As were in the air at all times, flying two orbits. A third aircraft was always on stand-by. In addition, United States Air Force, Royal Air Force and French Air Force E3 aircraft participated. 

The E3s provided commanders with a clear picture of air operations, as well as routing and controlling over 1000 sorties a day. The allied fighter aircraft that shot down six Serbian MIG 29 fighters were controlled by the E3As. Canadian air participation in Operation ALLIED FORCE continued from Operation DETERMINED FORCE.

Canadian Forces (CF) Information (ALLIED FORCE, ECHO)


CF Mission/Operation Notes: Canada participated in three ways in the area: 

Canadian name Operation ECHO: there was an initial commitment of six CF-188 Hornets (a commitment that eventually grew to 18 aircraft), operating under the Canadian name operation ECHO;

Canadian name Operation ALLIED FORCE: HMCS Athabaskan participated in the Adriatic Sea; and,

NATO name Operation ALLIED FORCE: The Canadian Contingent NAEWF participated in the area. The Canadian personnel at the NAEWF are integrated into the air and ground crews that support the operations of the NATO unit.


Photo by Cpl Danielle Bernier, 4 Wing Cold Lake
April 24, 1999
NATO Air Base Aviano, Italy

With his canopy open to the warm Mediterranean sun, the pilot of a CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft from Task Force Aviano - the "Balkan Rats" - awaits clearance to taxi onto the active runway while two United States Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler fighters take off. This Hornet is armed with the GBU-12, a 500-pound guided bomb unit (lower left), and the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile (centre right). Since March 24, Canadian CF-18s deployed in Italy under Operation ECHO have been participating in the NATO bombing campaign over the Former Republic of Yugoslavia.

Page details

Date modified: