Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

Operation El Dorado Canyon,15 April 1986

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Operation El Dorado Canyon,15 April 1986

Old 14th Apr 2021, 20:05
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Suffolk
Posts: 4
Operation El Dorado Canyon,15 April 1986

Iím interested to see if anyone has memories of this event, unfortunately I was staying in a hotel in Tripoli and it was there I was able to fully comprehend the colour of adrenaline.

lefty loose is offline  
Old 14th Apr 2021, 21:28
  #2 (permalink)  
Deputy Assistant Bottle Washer
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: PPRuNe
Posts: 3,468
A search of the Mil forum will bring up some 25 posts on Op El Dorado Canyon, with this one being worth reading.
Senior Pilot is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 01:01
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 34
My memories of this operation will never go away.

Boatloads of semtex caused untold damage that are still causing damage now
BeeBopp is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 01:04
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Surrey
Age: 63
Posts: 176
I was a civilian controller at Eastern Radar at RAF Watton,and was very surprised when I arrived at work that day to find that a significant number of the RAF controllers were wearing gun-belts and automatic pistols,and some of the airmen toting Sterling machine guns around the ops room.I don't remember seeing the F111s leaving Lakenheath,but wouldn't have been looking in that area.
ex82watcher is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 01:37
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: florida
Age: 78
Posts: 1,362
Salute!

What boatloads of semtex, Bee Bop?

The GP bombs used had tritonol or another "insensitive" compound. Looked like most were dropped by F-111.

...Gums sends..
gums is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 07:09
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: EGDC
Posts: 8,526
The aftermath of that attack included a terrorist attack on RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus since it was assumed the F111's had come from us there.

It could have been horrendous carnage with beaches packed with service families and civilians but fortunately they were not very well trained and made a bodge of it.

AK 47s, RPG 7s and mortars - not what I was expecting to see having just come from 2 years in NI to my (expected) sunshine and beach BBQ tour!
crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 07:28
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: attitude is nominal
Posts: 1,386
Have any details surfaced about that claimed shortcut the strike package took on the way out enabling them to arrive a little earlier than anticipated after having to take off in public view?
Less Hair is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 08:01
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Surrey
Age: 63
Posts: 176
Crab,I guess the anticipation of such an attack was the reason for the Eastern Radar people being armed,though on the day of course,we had no idea what it was all about(we civvies at least).Is it likely that all UK military units would have been so armed,or just those that would have been(or might be thought so)lnvolved in the operation ?
ex82watcher is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 08:01
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: England
Posts: 562
This is the only broadcast interview that I am aware of:


Less Hair, he doesn't mention anything about a shortcut. I don't think it happened.
Ewan Whosearmy is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 08:13
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 34
Gums,
When it became apparent that the UK had allowed/not objected to the use of Lakenheath the Gadaffi regimes support for IRA activities escalated dramatically. Further much larger quantities of weapons, money and crucially Semtex were shipped. Eldorado Canyon might have been an American vote winner but it had massive consequences including the enabling of atrocities like Enniskillen and Lockerbie and hundreds of others.
BeeBopp is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 08:56
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: attitude is nominal
Posts: 1,386
El Dorado Canyon was the well deserved retaliation for the La Belle discotheque bomb attack in Berlin.
Less Hair is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 09:46
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: EGDC
Posts: 8,526
ex82watcher - I don't know about what was happening in UK but I know that Akrotiri wasn't expecting anything - it was my first Station duty that day, Sunday 3rd Aug 1986.
crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 09:53
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: The Winchester
Posts: 6,024
Originally Posted by ex82watcher View Post
.Is it likely that all UK military units would have been so armed
We certainly weren't toting sidearms at Cranwell on the 14/15th, so it must have been certain units.
wiggy is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 16:06
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: uk
Posts: 157
Crab, as I recall, the morning following the Tripoli raid Akr went into lockdown, first I knew of it was returning to base on the morning after the raid, greeted by 2 CVRT either side the gate. All the beaches were closed, and the Regiment built a sangar, observation point on the roof of the sailing club. Restrictions continued until late July, as I recall. The attack on August 3 was as you say royally cocked up by the terrorists, thank god. SWMBO was in the shower at the sailing club when all hell let loose and the changing room became very full very quickly, much to her bemusement. The little girl who got the bravery award, for rescuing her baby brother from the rear of a car was my next door neighbour, her mother was injured in her married quarter when a mortar landed in the back garden. We were very lucky that Sunday afternoon. BTW you weren't the pilot who did the NI style vehicle stop on Lady's mile that afternoon, were you?
kaitakbowler is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 16:18
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 696
A couple of weeks after this raid I worked embedded a USAF unit in Nevada for a month and to say that the RAF were popular and well respected because of the support offered to this mission would be an understatement. At the time I also had rented out my house to a F-111 pilot from Lakenheath but I don't think that he was on the raid. Interesting times.
LOMCEVAK is online now  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 16:47
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: UK
Age: 39
Posts: 453
I remember my dad had a couple of stickers on his car he picked up from a Lakenheath (or Maybe Upper Heyford...) airshows the year after I guess. One was of an F-111 with the tag line something like 'Hey Gaddafi, here's Lakenheath bombing your ass' or similar.

He would then have been involved in dealing with the upswing in funding provided to the IRA when they launched operations in the UK, and for many many years after.
unmanned_droid is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 17:14
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 139
Originally Posted by unmanned_droid View Post
One was of an F-111 with the tag line something like 'Hey Gaddafi, here's Lakenheath bombing your ass' or similar.
It was: 'LIBYA - Lakenheath Is Bombing Your Ass'.
ExAscoteer2 is online now  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 17:30
  #18 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Suffolk
Posts: 4
We never noticed the AA guns around the hotel (due camouflage) until they started firing and then the noise was continuous, it was terrifyingly awesome. I do remember the whole city was lit up for two nights and then someone must have thought there may be a second attack and all the lights went off for a week.



The day after the strike we were taken from our hotel to visit Green Square and witness the damage, it was pretty much a residential area and had taken a couple of serious hits, our guides appeared to be military as everyone carried AK47’s and they were pretty pissed of as our group were all British/American/German.



All foreigners were detained and there was absolutely no information (pre internet/mobiles) I remember after a few days asking a friendly looking liaison guy what was happening he replied he had no idea but was listening to the BBC


lefty loose is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 17:32
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 1,089
Interesting background article here - particularly how plans had to be changed due to leaks and then again when overflights denied by France, Germany, Italy, and Spain for fear of reprisals:

El Dorado Canyon - Air Force Magazine
RAFEngO74to09 is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2021, 18:27
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 107
I was across in the States from Wildenrath, briefing an ANG Sqn prior to a deployment, when the raid took place. On the very night, I was at a small dinner party at the Generals house as the news broke, the dinner table was abandonded and the evening spent around the TV.

For the next few nights, as I was living in a motel and wearing uniform/flying kit, the locals and hotel management couldnít do enough for the Brit Air Force, didnít have to buy a drink for days. Was even taken out to dinner one night, very nice and not allowed to pay for anything. Interestingly, French flags were burnt in the streets in town as it became common knowledge of the denial of overflight rights.
Firestreak is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.