Military


Operation Allied Force - Order of Battle

Operation Determined Force / Allied Force Order of Battle History and Trends

This resource is a "best available guesstimate" of the buildup of NATO forces in support of Operation Allied Force, circa June 1999. The careful reader will notice that there are more than a few discrepancies between the totals reported and the specific deployments noted (which do not "add up" to the officially reported totals). This probably reflects some combination of incomplete deployment reports, changes in the allocation of previously deployed aircraft to the Allied Force air tasking order, as well as changes in the definition of which types of aircraft were included in the reported totals (a notorious problem in tracking aircraft deployed against Iraq at this time too).

However, over time it became apparent that there were at least 2 systematic "discrepancies" in the official presentations of order of battle information. The first clearly derived from the careless (or perhaps extremely careful) use of the term "deployed", a term which the casual observer might associate with "operational in theater" aircraft, but which for NATO purposes apparently was also associated with "in theater but not yet available for operational tasking" or "committed and preparing to move to the theater." The confusion caused by this discrepancy was compounded by the apparent practice of providing order of battle aggregates for either Operation Allied Force, or for all operations associated with the Kosovo conflict, without clarifying which operations were included in the totals.

As of 6 May 1999, the US Department of Defense announced that the total number of US planes committed to Operation Allied Force was 639, along with 277 allied planes, for a total of 916 aircraft. This total apparently reflected "commitments" rather than actual deployments as of that date. Subsequently, it was announced on 21 May 1999 that the US total was 712 aircraft and the NATO total was 281 aircraft, while NATO announced on 23 May 1999 that the US and other NATO total was 852 aircraft.

In early 1999, a total of as many as 430 aircraft from NATO countries were assigned responsibilities if called on. However, with the mid-March 1999 transfer of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise from the Adriatic Sea to the Persian Gulf, the total number of aircraft tasked with Kosovo-related operations declined to fewer than 400 aircraft. With deployments of additional aircraft and helicopters ordered at the end of March 1999, the total rose to well over 500 aircraft, and with the arrival of the USS Roosevelt in early April 1999 the total was roughly 550 aircraft and helicopters. Additional aircraft assigned in mid-April 1999 brought the total to roughly 700 aircraft. The precise number was somewhat uncertain, since it did not include other combat aircraft in-theater assigned to other operations and responsibilities. While the announced number of non-US other NATO aircraft as of 16 April 1999 was about 190, the bottom-up bean-count total was about 235 aircraft, with the difference possibly reflecting the allocation of Italian aircraft to territorial airspace defense missions.

NATO countries providing support first to Operation Determined Force, which began in October 1998, and then to Operation Allied Force, which began in March 1999, included Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. As of 25 January 1999, over 300 aircraft were committed to Kosovo operations and many of them were already deployed forward on stand-by at various air bases in Italy and other NATO nations or on carrier vessels. Depending on which of the limited air or phased air options was implemented, the sustainment of the operation was anticipated to require from 300 to 400 aircraft. Oddly enough, the USS Enterprise departed the Adriatic in mid-March 1999 to join the USS Vinson on station in the Persian Gulf shortly prior to the escalation of tensions over Kosovo, leaving no American carrier on station in the Adriatic to support Operation Allied Force. Ships and squadrons of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Battle Group deployed on 26 March 1999 from their east coast bases for a scheduled 6-month deployment.

In January 2000, the US Department of Defense released an Operation Allied Force after action report to Congress, in which it noted that on 24 March 1999, 214 US aircraft and 130 allied aircraft were poised at bases in Europe ready to initiate combat operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. B-2 aircraft operating from the heartland of the United States augmented these aircraft. By June 1999, the total number of US aircraft in Europe had grown to 731. During that same period, allied contributions more than doubled to over 300 aircraft. In addition, non-US NATO allies provided virtually all the basing facilities, air traffic coordination, and supporting elements to keep this air armada of over 1,000 aircraft functioning throughout the conflict.



Figures and comments in grey cells represent otherwise unspecified deployments indicated by subsequently reported ORBAT totals.
TOTAL ADD COMMENTS
US NATO US NATO
01-Mar 444 283 161
02-Mar 444 283 161
03-Mar 444 283 161
04-Mar 439 278 161 -5 5 EA-6B depart
05-Mar 439 278 161
06-Mar 439 278 161
07-Mar 439 278 161
08-Mar 439 278 161
09-Mar 439 278 161
10-Mar 364 203 161 -75 USS Enterprise departs
11-Mar 364 203 161
12-Mar 364 203 161
13-Mar 364 203 161
14-Mar 364 203 161
15-Mar 364 203 161
16-Mar 364 203 161
17-Mar 364 203 161
18-Mar 364 203 161
19-Mar 371 210 161 7 3 EA-6B & 4 KC-135
20-Mar 371 210 161
21-Mar 371 210 161
22-Mar 371 210 161
23-Mar 371 210 161
24-Mar 371 210 161
25-Mar 371 210 161
26-Mar 371 210 161
27-Mar 371 210 161
28-Mar 371 210 161
29-Mar 371 210 161 4 4 UK Harriers
30-Mar 375 210 165 DOD says NATO total is about 375 aircraft
31-Mar 375 210 165 DOD says US has 210 aircraft
01-Apr 395 230 165 20 5 B-1, 5 EA-6B & 10 tankers added
02-Apr 401 230 171 6 6 CF-18 added
03-Apr 414 243 171 13 10 F-15 jets and 3 EA-6B from Incirlik
04-Apr 427 256 171 13 13 F-117 arrive Germany
05-Apr 448 256 192 21 UK adds 8 Harrier, 8 Tornado, 2 Tristar & 3 E-3D
06-Apr 523 331 192 75 USS Roosevelt closes
07-Apr 523 331 192
08-Apr 546 354 192 23 UN-ANNOUNCED EUCOM MOVEMENTS ???
09-Apr 566 374 192 20 UN-ANNOUNCED EUCOM MOVEMENTS ???
10-Apr 566 374 192 82 more US aircraft committed, DOD says total will be 480
11-Apr 583 374 209 17 HMS Invincible
12-Apr 607 398 209 24 20th FW - 24 F-16CJs arrive Aviano
13-Apr 612 403 209 5 SACEUR requests 300 more US aircraft
14-Apr 632 423 209 20 Additional US aircraft deploy
15-Apr 652 443 209 20 Additional US aircraft deploy
16-Apr 672 463 209 20 DOD says US has 463 aircraft, NATO 190 aircraft
17-Apr 686 477 209 14 82 more US aircraft close??, DOD says total will be 480
18-Apr 689 480 209 3 3 more EA-6B deploy, Canada will deploy 6 more CF-18 in 2 weeks
19-Apr 714 505 209 25 AH-64 + support helicopters closing
20-Apr 740 531 209 26 AH-64 + support helicopters closing
21-Apr 744 531 213 4 Belgium deploys 4 more F-16
22-Apr 748 531 217 4 Netherlands deploys 4 more F-16AM
23-Apr 751 531 220 3 Denmark deploys 3 more F-16
24-Apr 751 531 220 NATO claims 690 aircraft in theater [excluding TF HAWK??]
25-Apr 751 531 220 500-600 US aircraft include 137 tankers
26-Apr 756 536 220 5 AH-64 + support helicopters close- total = 56
27-Apr 782 562 220 26 47 ANG & AFR KC-135 activated to deploy by 01 May
28-Apr 795 575 220 13 DOD says 575 US aircraft as of 28 April
29-Apr 795 575 220 US announces 13 more, mainly bombers, arriving in a week
30-Apr 800 575 225 5 UK announces 4 Tornadoes, 4 Harriers, 1 Tristar
01-May 806 575 231 6 Canada will deploy 6 more CF-18 in 2 weeks
02-May 819 588 231 13 US - 13 more, mainly bombers, close?
03-May 840 609 231 21 47 ANG & AFR KC-135 activated to deploy by 01 May
04-May 846 609 237 6 Canada deploys 6 more CF-18
05-May 846 609 237 US says SACEUR requested 300 US aircraft will close in 30 days
06-May 846 609 237 US commits 176 more, says 639 US and 277 Allied aircraft "committed"
07-May 846 609 237 France will send 22 more aircraft
08-May 846 609 237
09-May 846 609 237
10-May 860 609 251 NATO total estimated @ ~ 255
11-May 882 609 273 22 France will send 22 more aircraft - closure date??
12-May 918 645 273 36 ?? US additional 176 deploy ??
13-May 918 645 273 US total is 645 aircraft
14-May 918 645 273 US + NATO total is 922 aircraft
15-May 932 659 273 14 ?? US additional 176 deploy ??
16-May 932 659 273 US + NATO total is 930-940 aircraft
17-May 939 666 273 7 ?? US additional 176 deploy ??
18-May 957 684 273 18 18 more A-10 deployed
19-May 961 688 273 25 ?? US additional 176 deploy ??
20-May 985 712 273 24 24 F/A-18 deployed at Taszar
21-May 997 712 281 8 Commitments -- US total is 712 and NATO total is 281
22-May 976 712 264 -17 HMS Invincible withdrawn
23-May 976 712 264 US + NATO actual total is 852 aircraft
24-May 976 712 264 Total involved = 723 US and 281 NATO
25-May 1026 712 314 50 Hungary ~50
26-May 1041 717 324 5 10 Total = 1052 -- US total is 717 and NATO total is 324
27-May 1041 717 324
28-May 1041 717 324 F/A-18D operational in Hungary
29-May 1041 717 324
30-May 1041 717 324
31-May 1037 717 320 Commitment = 1,089 Total - 769 US & 320 NATO aircraft
01-Jun 1041 717 324 4 4 more UK Tornado
02-Jun 1041 717 324 Planned Commitment = 1,259 Total - 982 US & 277 NATO aircraft
03-Jun 1041 717 324
04-Jun 1041 717 324
05-Jun 1061 737 324 20 20 KC-135R to Turkey
06-Jun 1079 737 342 18 18 Turkish F-16 deployed
07-Jun 1091 749 342 12 12 US F-16CJ deployed to Turkey
08-Jun 1109 767 342 18 18 US F-15E deployed to Turkey
09-Jun 1127 785 342 18 18 US F-15E deployed to Turkey
10-Jun 1098 785 313 -29 Foch withdrawn
11-Jun 1098 785 257
12-Jun 1098 785 257
13-Jun 1098 785 257
14-Jun 1098 785 257
15-Jun 1098 785 257



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