Wednesday, February 4, 2009

US Airpower Summary, Feb. 4, 2009: A-10s Provide Top Cover

An A-10 Thunderbolt II prepares to take off from a Southwest Asia air base to provide close-air support to ground troops in Iraq. The A-10s perform shows of force to deter enemy forces and provide top cover for coalition forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Feb. 4, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations Feb. 3, 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 with a guided bomb unit-31. Enemy personnel in the bunker were firing on coalition ground forces.

In the Lashkar Gah area, a Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet and a coalition aircraft used several kinds of precision munitions and rockets to target enemy gunmen barricaded in buildings. The aircraft used strike tactics that avoided damage to nearby buildings and even caused only minimal damage to the occupied structures. The airstrikes supported coalition units fighting building-to-building against anti-Afghan personnel.

Near Nangalam, Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and F-15E Strike Eagles coordinated attacks with marking rockets and GBU-31s to target anti-Afghan forces firing heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. A Strike Eagle also flew a show of force to deter additional enemy activity.

A-10s along with Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets and coalition aircraft flew shows of force over Monari, Ghazni and Tarin Kowt to discourage activity from enemy forces. Shows of force provide a level of non-lethal aerial engagement in support of coalition missions.

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

In total, 70 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Ten 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 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 128 airlift sorties were flown, more than 270 tons of cargo was delivered and about 2,500 passengers were transported.

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

On Feb. 2, Air Force tanker crews flew 50 sorties and off-loaded approximately 2.5 million pounds of fuel to 253 receiving aircraft.

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

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