World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Banja Luka incident

Banja Luka incident
Part of the Bosnian War and Operation Deny Flight
Date 28 February 1994
Location southwest of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Result NATO victory
Republika Srpska NATO
6 J-21 Jastrebs
2 J-22 Oraos
4+ F-16s
Casualties and losses
5 aircraft downed,[1][2][3] but only 4[4] recognized by AFSOUTH, NATO & USAF
3 pilots KIA
1 wounded

The Banja Luka incident on 28 February 1994, was an incident in which six Republika Srpska Air Force J-21 Jastreb single-seat light attack jets were engaged, and four of them shot down, by United States Air Force F-16s southwest of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.


  • Bombing of Novi Travnik 1
  • Air engagement 2
  • Bosnian Serb pilots 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7

Bombing of Novi Travnik

As part of Operation Deny Flight, a NATO Airborne Early Warning aircraft (NAEW) flying over Hungarian territory, detected unidentified contacts south of Banja Luka at 6:35 a.m. Two NATO U.S. Air Force F-16s, "Black 03" and "Black 04",[5] of the 526th Fighter Squadron "Black Knights", 86th Fighter Wing based, at the time, at Ramstein AB, Germany, were vectored to the area and intercepted six J-21 Jastreb and two J-22 Orao aircraft which were attacking the Bratstvo military factory at Novi Travnik.[6] It was the first active combat in NATO's history.

In accordance with the UN and NATO rules of engagement, orders to "land or exit the no-fly zone or be engaged" were issued twice, but both warnings were ignored. While warnings were issued, the violating aircraft dropped bombs over their target, which was left in flames. In such circumstances NATO has a "single key", meaning that only one clearance was needed, so the Combined Air Operations Center was immediately able to clear the F-16s to attack.

Air engagement

The Bosnian Serb Jastrebs headed northwards, back to their base. At 6:45 a.m., the NATO fighters engaged their opponents. Captain Robert G. Wright fired an AIM-120 AMRAAM, downing the first Jastreb which was flying at 5,000 feet. The remaining Jastrebs dropped to a few hundred feet, flying at low level to use the mountainous terrain to hide from radar and make their escape back to Udbina. Wright pressed on, closing to within AIM-9 Sidewinder range. He fired two of his heat-seeking Sidewinder missiles, and they were seen to hit the Serb aircraft.

After he had expended all his missiles and low on fuel, Wright handed over the chase to his wingman, Capt. Scott O'Grady, who had been flying top to cover his flight leader.

O'Grady dropped down to engage and fired an AIM-9M, but it did not lock-on and missed. Black flight was now approaching "bingo fuel", the point at which a plane will not have enough fuel to return, so they pulled off to refuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker circling in orbit over the Adriatic. At the same time another pair of 526th Fighter Squadron F-16Cs, "Knight 25" and "Knight 26",[7] had been vectored to the area by the AWACS. At 6:50 a.m., "Knight 25" managed to get in behind the remaining three Jastrebs. He launched a Sidewinder, downing another Serb J-21 Jastreb.

By now the Serbs were close to the international border and the F-16s had to break off the pursuit because NATO was not empowered to engage aircraft outside Bosnian airspace. The remaining aircraft were able to land at Udbina Air Base in the Republic of Serbian Krajina in present day Croatia.

The USAF credited three kills to Captain Robert Gordon "Wilbur" Wright,[8] flying F-16C-40 #89-2137/RS,[9] using an AIM-120 AMRAAM and two AIM-9 Sidewinders; and one kill using an AIM-9 Sidewinder to Captain Stephen L. "Yogi" Allen[10] flying F-16C-40 #89-2009/RS[11] of the same unit. The Serbs acknowledged the loss of five aircraft in the incident; the discrepancy probably stems from the fact that an additional aircraft crashed after being hit by a missile explosion[12] while trying to escape in low-level flight.[13]

This engagement was the first wartime action conducted by NATO forces since its formation in 1949.

Bosnian Serb pilots

The Bosnian Serb pilots involved in the incident were:

  • Capt. 1st Class Ranko Vukmirović[13]KIA.
  • Capt. 1st Class Zvezdan Pešić[13] KIA.
  • Capt. 1st Class Goran Zarić[13] ejected at low altitude, KIA.
  • Maj. Uroš Studen[13] ejected near Jajce, survived.
  • Capt. 1st Class Zlatko Mikerević[13] ejected probably near the villages of Bravsko and Crkveno, 9 miles west of Ključ, survived.
  • Capt. 1st Class Zlatan Crnalić[13] landed at Udbina Airport with his J-21 Jastreb 24275 badly damaged; the aircraft later re-entered service.

See also


  1. ^ Serbian officially admitted 5 Aircraft lost
  2. ^ Hronika Republike Srpske Krajine
  3. ^ Discussion page for
  4. ^ AFSOUTH Fact sheets
  5. ^ Call sign of the aircraft
  6. ^ НИН online
  7. ^ Call sign of the aircraft
  8. ^ Capt. Robert G. Wright nickname (someteimes AKA Capt. Bob G. Wright)
  9. ^ Airframe details for F-16 #89-2137
  10. ^ Capt. Stephen L. Allen nickname (sometimes AKA Capt. Steve L. Allen)
  11. ^ Airframe details for F-16 #89-2009
  12. ^ Bushev F-16 u praksiSee the aircraft's tail picture on
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Lista gubitaka/ostecenja vazduhoplova u Ex-JRV od 1945 godine do danas

Further reading

  • Philip Handleman, Combat in the Sky: The Art of Air Warfare, Zenith Press 2003. ISBN 978-0-7603-1468-5.

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.