Friday, February 20, 2009

US Airpower Summary, Feb. 20, 2009: F-16s Protect Coalition Forces

An Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon conducts close-air support operations over Iraq Feb. 17 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. James L. Harper Jr.)

Dispatches from the Front:

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

In Afghanistan, a Royal Air Force GR-9 Harrier used a Paveway precision munition to destroy a building being used as an anti-Afghan firing position. Enemy gunmen had been using the building as a platform to fire on coalition troops.

A coalition aircraft struck an enemy compound near Kajaki Dam using a guided bomb unit-12. The strike took place during an engagement between enemy shooters barricaded in the compound and coalition infantry.

Near Shurakian, a coalition aircraft targeted enemy personnel using a GBU-12 after ground forces called in a request for air support during a firefight. Friendly units had been taking a barrage of mortar, automatic weapon and rocket propelled grenade fire. The airstrike decisively ended the attack.

In the vicinity of Balocan, Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles and coalition aircraft flew shows of force during engagements on the ground in the area. The jets provided deterrence against enemy action while ground forces conducted security and community development operations in local settlements.

An Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II flew a show of force over Bagram to deter enemy action near a coalition observation post. Coalition troops manning the post called in the A-10s to increase local security when they observed individuals engaged in suspicious activity. The individuals left the area when the aircraft flew overhead.

In the Asadabad area, an A-10 flew a show of force to prevent enemy activity. Coalition soldiers conducting a security operation requested the maneuver to increase presence and deter violence during the operation.

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 ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Seventeen 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 59 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-seven 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 125 airlift sorties were flown, more than 575 tons of cargo were delivered and about 3,150 passengers were transported. Airlift included approximately 45,000 pounds of troop re-supply that was air-dropped in Afghanistan.

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

On Feb. 18, Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 48 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.2 million pounds of fuel to 287 receiving aircraft.

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

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