The CF-18 pilots who flew missions over Libya returned to Canada Friday, landing at Bagotville, Que.

Chief of Defence Staff Walt Natynczyk was scheduled to meet the crews and seven aircraft.

The Canadian Forces CF-18 aircraft conducted 946 sorties, making up 10 per cent of NATO strike sorties, the Canadian Forces said in a release. Over the course of their sorties, the fighters dropped 696 bombs of various types.

"Canada once again punched above its weight as part of an international coalition," Defence Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement. "The men and women of the Canadian Forces confirmed their leadership position at NATO and the role they can play in successful international operations."

Sixteen crew members who worked on the Aurora aircraft Canada sent to be part of the mission were also scheduled to return to their base in Nova Scotia the same day, but weather conditions delayed their arrival until Saturday.

Last March, Canada joined the UN-approved NATO mission to protect civilians in a bloody revolt against leader Moammar Gadhafi, who was killed in October.

The Canadian Forces who flew missions over Libya were based in Trapani, Italy.

The deployment of Canadian gear to the region included a frigate, CC-150 Polaris in-flight refuelling tankers, CC-130 Hercules tankers, and CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft, Canadian Forces said.