Tuesday, January 20, 2009

US Airpower Summary, Jan. 20, 2009: Reapers Target Enemy Forces

An MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft prepares to land after a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The Reaper has the ability to carry both precision-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Jan. 20, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with Coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations Jan. 19, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles dropped guided bomb unit-12s on an enemy group firing mortars at coalition soldiers near Bari Kowt. The strikes took place after anti-Afghan personnel emerged from a cave and opened fire on the village where the patrol was located. The Strike Eagles also helped a coalition patrol locate enemy personnel attempting to flee the area.

Near Balocan, an Air Force MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft targeted an anti-Afghan machine gun squad with a Hellfire missile. The enemy group was attempting to withdraw after firing upon coalition personnel from dwellings in a nearby settlement. Navy F/A-18A Hornet and F/A-18E Super Hornets performed shows of force and expended flares to deter additional enemy activity.

Another Reaper UA launched Hellfire missiles at enemy personnel shooting at a coalition unit in the Sangin area. An F/A-18A followed up with a show of force to discourage further enemy action.

A coalition aircraft flew shows of force around a friendly position near Tarin Kowt to drive off enemy personnel gathered in the area.

In Shurakian, a Navy F/A-18C Hornet flying armed overwatch for coalition ground forces flew a show of force expending flares to deter enemy forces.

On-scene joint terminal attack controllers assigned to coalition units verified the success of these missions.

In total, 70 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Sixteen 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 41 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-nine Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Iraq. Additionally, three Air Force and coalition aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intra-theater heavy airlift, helping to sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa.

Approximately 130 airlift sorties were flown, more than 475 tons of cargo was delivered and about 3,400 passengers were transported.

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

On Jan. 18, Air Force and coalition tanker crews flew 49 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.5 million pounds of fuel to 287 receiving aircraft.

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

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