Thursday, February 12, 2009

US Airpower Summary, Feb. 12, 2009: F-16 Levels Bunker Complex

An F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft returns to the fight after being refueled during a mission over Iraq. The F-16s perform tactical shows of force and provide close-air support for coalition forces in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Feb. 12, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with Coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations Feb. 11, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles engaged anti-Afghan forces with a guided bomb unit-31 and a GBU-38 while providing air support to a coalition ground unit. Enemy personnel had been attacking from positions hidden among trees on a hillside near Nangalam using small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.

In the vicinity of Balocan, Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets and coalition aircraft engaged using several guided munitions after spotting anti-Afghan saboteurs planting an improvised explosive device along a coalition supply route. Upon noticing the aircraft, the enemy personnel attempted to flee the area on a motorcycle but were stopped by a Super Hornet's precision strike. A coalition aircraft simultaneously targeted and destroyed the IED.

A Navy F/A-18C Hornet strafed an enemy compound near Musa Qala, destroying firing positions concealed in the building with its 20mm cannon. Enemy personnel inside the compound had been firing on coalition forces with RPGs and automatic weapons.

Over Sheykhabad, an Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II flew a show of force for a coalition convoy being shot at by enemy gunmen. Passing over the enemy's position while expending flares, the aircraft deterred the shooters and caused them to withdraw. The convoy was able to continue safely on under the A-10's protection. Another A-10 flew a similar mission in the area later in the day.

An A-10 flew a show of force and expended flares to disrupt an enemy ambush on a coalition convoy following detonation of an IED along a highway near Gardez. The convoy was able to withdraw and continue on its mission following the maneuver.

A coalition aircraft scouted the route of a coalition supply convoy as it flew aerial overwatch in the Sangin region. The aircraft flew a show of force to deter possible enemy activity including IED emplacement along the route.

Near Kandahar, an F/A-18C performed tactical reconnaissance and executed a show of force to deter enemy attack while a coalition convoy stopped to clear a suspected IED site. The convoy was soon able to proceed without interference and complete its mission.

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

In total, 80 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 destroyed a terrorist group's staging and supply facility near Ba'qubah using GBU-31 strikes. The F-16 leveled the remote bunker complex, hampering the terrorists' ability to conduct further operations.

Near Balad Ruz, additional F-16 strikes destroyed a house which had been rigged with high explosives. The aircraft also performed shows of force to deter enemy activity in the area.

Coalition aircraft flew 16 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, a 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 100 airlift sorties were flown, more than 325 tons of cargo was delivered and about 2,000 passengers were transported.

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

On Feb. 10, Air Force tanker crews flew 43 sorties and off-loaded approximately 2.8 million pounds of fuel to 174 receiving aircraft.

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

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