Wednesday, March 18, 2009

US Airpower Summary, March 18, 2009: F-16s Strike Target

An F-16 Fighting Falcon arrives at Balad Air Base, Iraq, after a mission. F-16s and other coalition aircraft flew 26 close-air-support missions in Iraq March 17. (U.S. Air Force photo.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, March 18, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations March 17, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets flew a show of force, expending flares, and then engaged using a guided bomb unit-12 near Lashkar Gah in response to enemy automatic weapons and mortar fire against a coalition convoy. The action targeted anti-Afghan forces around an enemy supply compound. Coalition ground observers helped the strike land on target, passing coordinates for a direct hit using the precision munition.

Near Worzhanah Kalay, Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets used GBU-38s to hit enemy rocket and fighting positions firing against a coalition unit. The strikes ended the engagement with the jets staying overhead to provide air cover until the friendly unit had safely moved on.

An Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle executed a show of force over Ghazni while providing aerial overwatch for a series of coalition supply convoys moving through local roads. The show of force was provided to deter enemy attack against the convoys and an Afghan National Army post in the vicinity that had taken sporadic enemy fire during the previous night.

Joint terminal attack controllers assigned to coalition units verified the success of these missions.

In total, 73 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. In addition, four Navy and coalition aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

In Iraq, Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons hit insurgent bunkers near Ba'qubah using GBU-38s and a GBU-12, targeting both enemy facilities and insurgents attempting to escape after the strike. The aircraft engaged after the insurgents fired on a friendly unit.
Coalition aircraft flew 26 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-six Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Iraq. In addition, 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 150 airlift sorties were flown; more than 550 tons of cargo was delivered; and about 4,300 passengers were transported.

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

On March 16, Air Force tankers flew 47 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.2 million pounds of fuel to 263 receiving aircraft.

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

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