Sunday, March 1, 2009

US Airpower Summary, March 1, 2009: F-15E Destroys Enemy Weapons Cache

An F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft returns to the fight after receiving fuel from a KC-135R Stratotanker during a mission over Afghanistan. The F-15E provides close-air support and armed aerial overwatch to deter enemy activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, March 1, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations Feb. 28, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle destroyed an anti-Afghan forces weapons cache near Shurakian using a guided bomb unit-31. The facility's destruction undermined enemy forces' ability to carry out attacks in the region. The Strike Eagle performed a show of force prior to the strike to warn civilians to clear the area, ensuring they were well outside safe distances before releasing the weapon.

In the vicinity of Tarin Kowt, Air Force B-1B Lancers and F-15Es carried out airstrikes to relieve a coalition convoy under heavy enemy fire following an improvised explosive device attack that had disabled a vehicle. The jets used GBU-38 and GBU-31s to hit anti-Afghan personnel shooting at the convoy as well as enemy spotters in the surrounding hills. The aircraft employed precision fire tactics to pinpoint enemy positions and avoid causing unnecessary damage to nearby civilian structures.

Near Orgun, F-15Es interdicted a group of enemy personnel who had crossed Afghanistan's mountainous border to attack friendly patrols. The jets hit the enemy group using GBU-38s and a strafing pass, ending their attempt to flee back across the border. A-10 Thunderbolt IIs provided additional shows of force in the area to discourage further enemy activity.

An A-10 performed a show of force near Nangalam to disperse enemy forces firing heavy machine guns from a concealed location at a coalition ground unit. The maneuver succeeded in stopping the attack.

In the Soltani region, an F-15E flew a show of force to break up an enemy attack against a friendly convoy which ensued after a truck hit an IED. Enemy forces broke off their attack and fled after the aircraft arrived.

An F-15E and a coalition aircraft conducted shows of force to deter enemy activity in Ghazni and Sangin respectively. The maneuvers helped ensure coalition convoys reached their destinations safely as they delivered reconstruction and food supplies to the region.

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

In total, 61 close air support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

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

In Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 25 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 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 200 airlift sorties were flown; more than 600 tons of cargo was delivered; and about 3,000 passengers were transported.

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

On February 27, U.S. Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 38 sorties and off-loaded approximately 2.7 million pounds of fuel to 172 receiving aircraft.

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

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