Monday, February 23, 2009

US Airpower Summary, Feb. 23, 2009: B-1B Destroys Enemy Bunker

An Air Force B-1B Lancer awaits its next mission at a base in Southwest Asia. B-1s fly close-air-support missions for both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Ken Stephens.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Feb. 23, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations Feb. 22, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, an Air Force B-1B Lancer destroyed an anti-Afghan bunker near Now Zad using a guided bomb unit-31. Personnel in the bunker had been firing on coalition troops.

In the vicinity of Shurakian, many coalition aircraft provided air support for an ambushed coalition convoy after one vehicle was disabled by an improvised explosive device. Enemy forces took cover and pulled back from the immediate area when the aircraft arrived. An Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II destroyed an additional IED using a GBU-38 as the convoy prepared to depart.

An A-10 Thunderbolt II intervened after anti-Afghan forces in fortified positions near Nangalam engaged a coalition convoy with rocket-propelled grenade and assault-weapons fire. The A-10 used a GBU-38 and 30mm cannon strafes to destroy the enemy positions.

While providing overwatch near Lashkar Gah, a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet used GBU-12 to target an enemy indirect fire position launching attacks on coalition units. The strike successfully ended the attacks.

During a ground firefight on in the Morghab area, an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle bombed an anti-Afghan forces fighting position using a GBU-12. After the initial strike, nearby enemy personnel tried to flee the area on motorcycles, but paused briefly to abandon their weapons in a nearby settlement. With other coalition aircraft helping to maintain positive identification of the enemy personnel, the Strike Eagle pursued, hitting the motorcycles with another GBU-12 and a cannon strafe once the risk to civilians had passed.

Near Moqor, an A-10 flew a show of force and expended flares after a coalition convoy started taking enemy small-arms fire from a civilian settlement. The enemy's fire was suppressed long enough for the convoy to withdraw and complete the mission.

Navy F/A-18 Hornets, Super Hornets and Air Force F-15Es executed shows of force to deter enemy activities in areas near Lashkar Gah, Delaram, Ghazni, and Kabul. These shows of force provided additional security and protection for coalition operations while preventing risk to civilians.

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.

Five 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, Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons responded to a report of insurgents planting an improvised explosive device under a road crossing a Baghdad, Iraq, canal. The aircraft targeted the enemy group using GBU-38s as the insurgents unsuccessfully attempted to escape.

Coalition aircraft flew 30 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.

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 110 airlift sorties were flown, more than 600 tons of cargo was delivered and about 4,350 passengers were transported. This included approximately 30,000 pounds of troop resupply that was air-dropped in Afghanistan.

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

On Feb. 21, Air Force tankers flew 46 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3 million pounds of fuel to 204 receiving aircraft.

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

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