Thursday, January 22, 2009

US Airpower Summary, Jan. 22, 2009: Predators Provide Tactical Reconnaissance

An MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aircraft prepares for take off in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Predator provides integrated and synchronized close-air operations, to include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Sabrina Johnson.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Jan. 22, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations Jan. 21, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, an F-15E Strike Eagle conducted an attack in support of coalition ground forces in the Oruzgan region. The Strike Eagle dropped guided bomb unit-38 and -12s on its target.

Coalition aircraft supported ground operations near Nangalam. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs targeted several anti-Afghan force heavy machine positions with GBU-38s and general purpose 500-pound bombs and conducted shows of force in support of friendly patrols and convoys. Strike Eagles dropped GBU-12s on enemy forces during a running engagement, halting a failed ambush on a coalition patrol. Air Force MQ-1 Predators also provided tactical reconnaissance for ground units clearing enemy compounds in the area.

Near Bari Kowt, F-15Es destroyed anti-Afghan fighting positions with GBU-31s during a firefight there. The Strike Eagles then helped a nearby coalition base locate an enemy mortar team that was firing from heights overlooking the installation. Other F-15Es performed shows of force to support a coalition convoy travelling along a supply route thus deterring enemy activity.

F-15Es and an A-10 struck anti-Afghan units with guided bomb unit-12s and strafing attacks. The strikes took place after enemy forces and a coalition patrol engaged each other in the vicinity of Khowst. The A-10s also expended illumination flares to reveal and mark enemy positions.

A coalition aircraft executed a show of force over a compound near Sangin to deter enemy activity.

On-scene joint terminal attack controllers 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, two coalition aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

In Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 42 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-five 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 150 airlift sorties were flown, more than 700 tons of cargo was delivered and about 3,250 passengers were transported.

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

On Jan. 20, Air Force and coalition tanker crews flew 49 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.2 million pounds of fuel to 263 receiving aircraft.

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

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