Tuesday, February 10, 2009

US Airpower Summary, Feb. 10, 2009: B-1Bs Protect Ground Forces

The setting sun silhouettes a B-1B Lancer recently at an undisclosed air base in Southwest Asia. Carrying the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons, the multi-mission B-1B is the backbone of America's long-range bomber force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Boquette.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Feb. 10, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations Feb. 9, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, an Air Force B-1B Lancer destroyed an enemy mortar position concealed in a building near Surkhabad. The bomber employed precision tactics using a guided bomb unit-38, destroying the mortar position while damaging a small portion of the building. A coalition aircraft also flew a show of force in the area to discourage further enemy.

Near Worzhanah Qalay, an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle targeted an enemy cave complex with a GBU-31 during a firefight between coalition soldiers and anti-Afghan forces. Enemy shooters were firing from the caves when the aircraft struck the hillside with a 2,000-pound munition, collapsing the entire tunnel system.

An Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II flew several shows of force near Sheykhabad during an extended enemy attack on a coalition convoy. The A-10 flew in as anti-Afghan forces, hiding in civilian settlements, opened fire on the convoy with automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and wire-detonated improvised explosives at several points along the route. Each time, the aircraft's maneuvers caused the enemy to cease fire long enough for the convoy to safely withdraw and continue to its destination.

A Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet conducted a show of force over Sangin to deter enemy personnel attacking coalition forces with small arms and RPGs. Enemy forces withdrew after the jet passed overhead expending flares.

In the Bagram region, an F-15E flew a show of force to disperse suspected enemy personnel gathering along the route of a coalition convoy. The convoy continued on to its objective under the aircraft's protection.

A Navy F/A-18A Hornet and an F/A-18E Super Hornet performed shows of force in Shurakian and Garmser respectively to deter enemy activity during coalition ground operations.

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

In total, 74 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

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

In Iraq, Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons performed several shows of force in the area surrounding a coalition base near Ba'qubah. The maneuvers were conducted to deter anti-coalition militia activity in the area.

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-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 490 tons of cargo was delivered and about 3,250 passengers were transported. This included approximately 36,000 pounds of troop resupply airdropped in Afghanistan.

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

On Feb. 8, Air Force tanker crews flew 50 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.7 million pounds of fuel to 282 receiving aircraft.

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

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