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Monday, October 12, 1998 Published at 21:59 GMT 22:59 UK

Military facts and figures

As Nato prepares for air strikes against Yugoslavia, nations are committing troops and aircraft to military action. Belgrade is also making preparations.



In the event of military intervention, initial strikes are likely to be launched from the naval forces of 11 Nato states conducting exercises in international waters.

[ image:  ]
The United States Sixth Fleet - with the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower - is poised in the eastern Mediterranean and could provide significant firepower.

Click here for more information about USS Eisenhower and aircraft carriers

Accompanying Eisenhower on its training exercise in the Adriatic Sea off the west coast of Croatia are a missile cruiser group of five ships and two attack submarines, and 48 strike fighters.

Most of the US ships are capable of firing Tomahawk cruise missiles, which could dominate initial strikes, in order not to endanger Nato pilots or planes.


The Yugoslav navy has a small force of frigates and patrol boats armed with anti-ship missiles.

There are also two operational submarines, which - if they get to sea - could prove difficult to detect.

Air power


The Nato force is said to total around 430 planes - 260 of them from the United States, of which many are strike aircraft.

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The armada of F-18 fighter bombers, F-14s, F-16 fighters, Mirages, and Jaguars from Nato allies would probably form the basis of a second, sustained series of air strikes aimed at crippling Yugoslavian armed forces.

UK Royal Air Force Tornado GR1s and Harrier GR7s are also expected to participate and the Germany has promised 14 German Air Force Tornados.

Click here for more information about the Tornado

Committed US planes include two B-2 stealth bombers, 12 F-117 stealth fighters and six B-52 bombers equipped with air-launched cruise missiles.

In support are 10 reconnaissance planes, 10 search and rescue, 3 airborne command and control and 40 refuelling craft.

If the B-2s are deployed in combat, it would be the first such use of the $2bn bat-winged bomber, which is able to dodge enemy radar.

The Danish parliament has pledged four Danish air force F-16 fighters and two reserve aircraft to the strike force.


The choice to use America's costliest and stealthiest planes reflects Nato's assessment of Yugoslavia's integrated air defences, a system of tracking radar as well as fixed and mobile missiles.

In 1995, during the Bosnian War, the Bosnian Serbs used the system to shoot down F-16s with Soviet-made SA-6 mobile missiles.

Yugoslavian MiG-29 planes which carry these missiles are reportedly being moved into hardened bunkers to protect them against possible air attack. President Milosevic is unlikely to want to risk them against Nato's comprehensive air armada.



[ image:  ]
Most of the US ships are carrying Tomahawk cruise missiles. B-52s also have cruise missile capability.

Click here for more information about the cruise missile


Belgrade has mobile missile systems, shoulder-launched weapons and nearly 2,000 anti-aircraft guns that could prove difficult to locate.

Yugoslavia also has many Cold War-era bunkers and hardened installations at its disposal, some of which may be difficult to attack.

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