In photos, First Canadian Hornets air strike on ISIS in Iraq

Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets have conducted their first combat mission supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. And here are some interesting shots.

On Oct. 30, RCAF CF-18 Hornets took part in the first air strikes against ISIS targets in support of US-led Operation Inherent Resolve.

The images in this post were taken as the Canadian Hornets were refueled by a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, over Iraq.

Canada Joins the Fight Against ISIL

On their first air strike the aircraft carried 3x GBU-12 LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs), 2x AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles at the wing tip launchers, 1x AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile), and 2x drop tanks.

Canada Joins the Fight Against ISIL

Interestingly, the Hornets carry the drop tanks on the right hand wing and on the centerline pylon (as the U.S. Navy Hornets), so as the Sniper ATP (Advanced Targeting Pod), carried on the left hand side of the fuselage, is not obstructed.

Canada Joins the Fight Against ISIL

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Great pictures. A few notes about the facts in the article. Firstly, no actual strikes took place; the weather was not suitable, and the Canadian aircraft returned to base without dropping. As of Saturday 1 November’s news, no bombs had yet been dropped by Canadian Hornets. Coming soon. Secondly, the fuel tank arrangement is favoured because it allows the aircraft to carry more bombs than if 3 tanks were carried, and the reason they are on the centreline and right wing is that the targeting pod is on the left fuselage station. Finally, the targeting pod is the Sniper, not the AT/FLIR that the US Navy carries.

    • Yuk, I can’t stand them myself. They ruin the look of the aircraft! Plus I doubt they’d be of much use to be honest.

  2. What exactly is the point of having these rather upgraded CF-18s with the JHMCS when using AIM-9M missiles? They need AIM-9X to take advantage of the fancy helmet. I understand that -9X availability is low, and -9Ms are more than enough for the situations these fighters might encounter over Iraq. However, even the ones doing air policing in the Baltics are running -9Ms from the photos we’ve seen, and they are much more likely to need that additional capability. It seems rather strange to spend ~$214,000 per unit on a helmet for HOBS capability but not getting the missiles to use it with.

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