Thursday, February 19, 2009

US Airpower Summary, Feb. 19, 2009: B-1Bs Provide Overwatch

A B-1B Lancer receives fuel from a KC-10 Extender over Afghanistan. B-1Bs fly close-air-support missions for both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Feb. 19, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations Feb. 18, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, Navy F/A-18C Hornets and F/A-18F Super Hornets along with Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles engaged anti-Afghan forces on a ridgeline in Qalat in response to enemy small arms and mortar fire. The fighters destroyed the hostile fighting positions, conducting strikes with several guided bomb unit types and 20mm cannon strafes.

A Royal Air Force GR-9 Harrier and a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet supported a coalition ground unit taking heavy fire near Sangin. Both aircraft employed shows of force to deter the enemy. After the enemy resumed firing, the Super Hornet engaged with a strafing pass across the enemy's position.

In the vicinity of Lashkar Gah, a Navy Super Hornet engaged an enemy firing position using a GBU-12. The air strike occurred in response to a call for air support after anti-Afghan forces opened fire on a coalition patrol.

While performing aerial overwatch operations near Tarin Kowt, F/A-18Cs responded when a coalition forward base spotted a group of individuals engaging in suspicious activity outside the base perimeter. The Hornets executed shows of force to deter the group, which quickly departed the area.

An Air Force B-1B Lancer flew several shows of force and expended flares while providing overwatch for a coalition convoy in the Morghab area. The shows of force discouraged enemy activity as the convoy transited the area.

An Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II performed a show of force near a coalition forward base in Ghazni to stop a potential enemy attack against a convoy nearby. The A-10 also provided air cover for the convoy along its supply route.

A Super Hornet was called to a firefight near Sangin, flying a show of force to deter anti-Afghan forces who had been shooting at a coalition patrol. The enemy broke off attack following the maneuver.

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

In total, 75 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Eight 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 39 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 150 airlift sorties were flown, more than 575 tons of cargo was delivered and about 3,775 passengers were transported.

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

On Feb. 17, Air Force tanker crews flew 53 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.7 million pounds of fuel to 294 receiving aircraft.

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

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