Sunday, January 18, 2009

US Airpower Summary, Jan. 18, 2009: F-15E Destroys Anti-Afghan Position

An F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft, like this one flying over Afghanistan in 2006, is a dual-role fighter designed to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Jan. 18, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in the following operations Jan. 17, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, one service member was killed when a coalition CH-47 Chinook helicopter made a hard landing. The cause is under investigation, though enemy small arms fire was present at the time of the incident. During ensuing recovery operations, an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle destroyed an Anti-Afghan firing position with a guided bomb unit-31 after enemy personnel opened fire on coalition troops. A number of additional coalition aircraft also provided aerial overwatch.

Near Sangin, a Navy F/A-18A Hornet strafed an enemy firing position, relieving a coalition patrol under heavy fire. The Hornet and another coalition aircraft also performed shows of force and expended flares, deterring enemy forces attacking nearby coalition ground units.

An Air Force MQ-9A Reaper gave aerial cover to a coalition convoy engaging an enemy group attempting an ambush. During a running battle, the aircraft targeted an enemy sniper with a precision low collateral damage munition and helped positively distinguish enemy personnel from civilians in the area.

In the vicinity of Garmser, ground troops protecting an immobilized coalition vehicle called in an F/A-18A to perform a show of force to deter an attack on the convoy.

A Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet expended flares during a show of force to discourage enemy activity in the area of Musa Qala. Another F/A-18C Hornet conducted a similar action near Qalat.

Joint terminal attack controllers and a ground force commander assigned to coalition units verified the success of these missions.

In total, 59 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Twelve Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Afghanistan. Additionally, four Navy and coalition aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

In Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 40 close-air-support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions integrated and synchronized with coalition ground forces, protected key infrastructure, provided overwatch for reconstruction activities and helped to deter and disrupt hostile activities.

Twenty-six Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Iraq. Additionally, two Air Force aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

U.S. Air Force C-130s and C-17s provided intra-theater heavy airlift, helping to sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa.

Approximately 135 airlift sorties were flown; more than 475 tons of cargo were delivered; and about 3,500 passengers were transported. This included approximately 125,000 pounds of troop resupply that was air-dropped in Afghanistan.

Coalition C-130 crews flew as part of operations in Afghanistan or Iraq.

On Jan. 16, Air Force and coalition aerial refueling crews flew 42 sorties and off-loaded approximately 2.6 million pounds of fuel to 190 receiving aircraft.

(Report from a U.S. Air Force news release.)

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