Saturday, February 28, 2009

US Airpower Summary, Feb. 28, 2009: B-1B Destroys Enemy Narcotics Facility

A mission-bound B-1B Lancer lifts off from the runway of an air base in Southwest Asia. The B-1B is a multi-role, long-range bomber capable of flying intercontinental missions without refueling. It can perform a variety of missions, including that of carrying conventional weapons for theater operations. (U. S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Olsen.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Feb. 28, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations Feb. 27, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, an Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber used guided bomb unit-38s to destroy an anti-Afghan forces narcotics facility in southern Afghanistan. The strike took place as part of Coalition-Afghan National Army drug interdiction efforts, helping to reduce the flow of enemy funding from illicit drug production.

An Air Force MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft system engaged a group of enemy personnel with a Hellfire missile near Lashkar Gah. The UAV launched its strike in response to an enemy attack on coalition forces.

Near Bari Kowt, an Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II flew a show of force near a coalition observation post after ground forces starting receiving small arms fire. Enemy fire ceased upon the aircraft's arrival.

A UK Royal Air Force GR-9 Harrier performed a show of force near Tarin Kowt after a coalition vehicle was disabled by an IED strike. To provide an additional deterrent to enemy attack, the Harrier remained with the convoy to ensure a safe withdrawal.

Near Orgun, an A-10 conducted a show of force to put a stop to an enemy attack. The A-10 arrived shortly after coalition ground troops had taken rocket propelled grenade and automatic weapons fire.

An A-10 carried out a show of force near Ghazni after a coalition unit spotted individuals acting suspiciously near a supply route through a civilian settlement. After ground observers determined it likely that the individuals were preparing to place an improvised explosive device, the aircraft carried out the maneuver to discourage the group.

Coalition aircraft carried out several other shows of force to deter enemy activity in locations throughout Afghanistan including Soltani, Lashkar Gah, Orgun, Now Zad, and Ghazni. Shows of force provided an additional level of presence to enhance security for coalition operations and Afghan civilians without having to employ weapons.

Joint Terminal Attack Controllers assigned to coalition units verified the success of each mission.

In total, 60 close air support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Sixteen Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, F-16C Fighting Falcons provided shows of force to deter insurgent gunfire during an Iraqi Army medevac operation near Ba'qubah. The jets also helped maintain security for the operation by performing aerial overwatch of the landing zone.

Additional F-16s flew shows of force and expended flares near Ba'qubah during other operations in the area. The maneuvers took place during two simultaneous ground engagements, suppressing enemy mortar and small arms fire as the Iraqi army closed in on and captured insurgent positions.

Coalition aircraft flew 28 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-two Air Force and Navy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Iraq. In addition, three Air Force and coalition aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

U.S. Air Force C-130s and C-17s provided intra-theater heavy airlift, helping to sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa.

Approximately 135 airlift sorties were flown; more than 600 tons of cargo was delivered; and about 3,125 passengers were transported.

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

On February 26, U.S. Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 44 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.0 million pounds of fuel to 239 receiving aircraft.

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

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