Today in History – April 14, 1986 – Fighters from the 48th TFW at Lakenheath respond to Operation El Dorado Canyon

14 April 1986: In response to several acts of international terrorism sponsored by the Libyan regime of Muammar Khadafi, the United States launched Operation El Dorado Canyon.

Along with A-6E Intruders, F/A-18 Hornets and A-7 Corsair IIs from the aircraft carriers USS America and USS Coral Sea, 24 General Dynamics F-111F Aardvarks of the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing from RAF Lakenheath, accompanied by EF-111 Ravens for electronic countermeasures and flew 3,500 miles to their targets.

Strict rules of engagement were in place. Libya had some of the most sophisticated air defenses in the world but only one F-111 was lost from AAA  along with both crew members.

Many thanks to Bruce Swopes author and creator of This Day in Aviation website for allowing me to use his stories. You can read more at

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