Denmark’s contribution to Unified Protector cost US$110 million


Denmark’s contribution to military operations against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime cost the country US$110 million, according to Denmark’s Ministry of Finance.

Denmark was one of the first countries to offer air assets to Operation Unified Protector, the international air campaign to protect Libyan civilians. Its fighter jets participated in the mission from March 20 to September, with six F-16 jets stationed at the Signonella base of the Italian island of Sicily. The detachment there also included a C-130J-30 Hercules tactical transport and a support team of 132 personnel.

The bill produced by the Ministry of Finance covers the seven months of operations, during which Danish F-16s flew 600 missions and dropped more than 900 precision guided munitions against targets that included ammunition depots, strategic military facilities, tanks, rocket launchers and self-propelled artillery.

The US$110 million figure is equivalent to about 2% of Denmark’s US$4.4 billion defence budget for 2011, DefenseNews reports. The final amount for Denmark’s contribution will be higher as the audited figures do not include the restocking of bombs and missiles. The acquisition of bombs, missiles, fuel and spare parts for the F-16s cost US$60 million.

Denmark paid for its contribution to the Libya operation via its regular 2011 military budget and did not receive supplementary funding for the mission, as did countries like Norway.

Eight NATO allies participated in air strikes against Libya, led by France and Britain. Smaller countries such as Norway and Denmark represented about 12% of the strike force but flew a significantly larger proportion of strike missions.

According to NATO, approximately 8 000 troops and over 260 air assets (fighter aircraft, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, air-to-air refuellers, unmanned aerial vehicles and attack helicopters) took part in Operation Unified Protector, together with 21 naval assets (supply ships, frigates, destroyers, submarines, amphibious assault ships and aircraft carriers).

Over 26 500 sorties, including over 9 700 strike sorties were flown during the course of the operation, destroying over 5 900 military targets including over 400 artillery or rocket launchers and over 600 tanks or armoured vehicles.

The mission is estimated to have cost the US Department of Defence US$1.1 billion. The British Ministry of Defence estimates its involvement cost US$480 million, and France expects costs of US$420 million to US$490 million resulting from the mission in Libya.