Close Air Support Fratricide Incidents – Friendly Fire!

List of Friendly Fire (Blue on Blue) Close Air Support Incidents:

  • Friendly fire killed 35 Americans and wounded 72 during the Gulf War.
  • 18 April 2002, four Canadian soldiers were killed and eight others injured when U.S. Air National Guard F-16 jet dropped a laser-guided 500 lb (230 kg) on Canadian Light Infantry regiment.
  • 28 March 2003. A pair of American A-10s from the 190th attacked four British armoured reconnaissance vehicles killing one and injuring five others.
  • 6 April 2003. American aircraft attacked a friendly Kurdish & U.S. Special Forces convoy, killing 15.
  • 6 April 2006, a British convoy in Afghanistan wounded 13 Afghan police officers and killed one, after calling in a US airstrike on what they thought was a Taliban attack.
  • 20 August 2006. In Sangin Province, an RAF Harrier pilot mistakenly strafed British troops missing the enemy by 200 metres during a firefight with the Taliban. Read more here 
  • 4 September 2006. Operation Medusa: Two U.S. A-10 Thunderbolts accidentally strafed NATO forces in southern Afghanistan, killing a Canadian Soldier. Read more here
  •  December 2006, an F/A-18C on a Close Air Support mission in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, mistakenly attacked a trench where British Royal Marines were dug-in during a 10-hour battle with Taliban fighters, killing one Royal Marine. Read more here
  • 23 A​ugust 2007: A USAF F-15 called in to support British ground forces in Afghanistan dropped a bomb on those forces. Three privates of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment, were killed and two others were severely injured. In the confusion and stress of the battle the JTAC incorrectly confirmed one wrong digit mistakenly repeated by the pilot, and the bomb landed on the British position 1000 metres away from the enemy. The coroner at the soldiers’ inquest stated that the incident was due to “flawed application of procedures”. Read more here
  • On 9 July 2008, nine British soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment were injured after being fired upon by British Army Apache helicopter while on patrol in Afghanistan. Read more here
  • December 2009. A Soldier from 3rd Battalion The Rifles was shot and killed by a U.S. Apache helicopter during a firefight with the Taliban.. Eleven other British soldiers were wounded in the attack. Senior British officers were watching a d​rone’s grainy images of the fight from C​amp Bastion, ​about 30 miles from the battle at Patrol Base Almas. The officers mistook the soldiers’ mud-walled compound for an enemy position and called down a U.S. Apache air strike on the base. The coroner criticised the British commanders for the ‘unprofessional’ use of grainy images and for insisting there were no friendly forces in the area to the Apache crew. Read more here
  • 9 June 2014. Friendly fire incident that killed five American soldiers and one Afghan soldier in June was caused by failures from the “key members” of the ground team who called in an airstrike from a B-1B Lancer. According to an accident investigation report.“The key members executing the close air support mission collectively failed to effectively execute the fundamentals, which resulted in poor situational awareness and improper target identification” Jeffrey Harrigan wrote in the report. “…had the team understood their system’s capabilities, executed standard tactics, techniques and procedures and communicated effectively, this tragic incident was avoidable.” –Direct Quote U.S. Central Command investigating officer Air Force Maj. Gen. Read more here
  • 28 Sep 2015 – A310 Gunship attack on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz,  killed 22 civilians at an Afghan hospital. Read more here
  • 6 Sep 2015 – US airstrike killed a group of counter-narcotics police officers on patrol in Garmsir district in the volatile Helmand province. Read more here
  • 19 Sep 2015 – An air strike by the US-led coalition during an offensive against the so-called Islamic State killed nine Iraqi soldiers. Read more here
  • 9 Feb 2017 –  Russian ‘friendly fire’ kills Turkish soldiers in Syria. Russian air strikes were launched based on coordinates provided to Russia by the Turkish military. Read more here