Canada drops 240 bombs in Libya air campaign

Canadian warplanes have dropped 240 laser-guided bombs on Libya so far in the NATO-led mission, according to the military.

Brig.-Gen. Richard Blanchette made the revelation during a weekly briefing on Canada's involvement in the air campaign over the North African country aimed at protecting civilians from attacks by forces loyal to Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi.

Six CF-18s have flown 324 attack missions so far. A spare CF-18 is also deployed to the mission.

The announcement comes after the military initially refused to reveal how many bombs have been dropped during the mission, citing operational security concerns.

Blanchette wouldn't disclose the cost of the 227-kilogram bombs, or of Canada's mission so far, saying that decision was up to the government, not the Canadian Forces.

Earlier this month, the military published a request to buy 1,300 new $100,000 laser-guided bombs, reportedly all for use in the Libyan campaign.

Blanchette would not disclose details of the mission, unlike some of Canada's allies who often give updates on their military strikes.

"It is a national prerogative to release information," he said

Blanchette said the Canadian military has decided releasing more information would endanger its pilots.

But NDP defence critic Jack Harris said Canadians have a right to know what the Canadian military is doing in their name and with their money.

"Canadians deserve transparency on what's happening in Libya, the number of sorties, the number of bombs dropped, the targets," Harris said.

"The Canadian Department of Defence has a history of keeping things secret from the people of Canada," Harris said. "They have gotten away with it and they continue to get away with it, as long as they're allowed to do so."