Friday, March 20, 2009

US Airpower Summary, March 20, 2009: B-1B Destroys Enemy Positions

A B-1B Lancer takes off from a forward deployed location. Carrying the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory, the multi-mission B-1B is the backbone of America's long-range bomber force. It can rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Clark Staehle.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, March 20, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations March 19, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and F-15E Strike Eagles targeted anti-Afghan forces in the Asadabad region with a mix of guided-bomb units and general- purpose bombs. The strikes destroyed multiple fortified enemy-fighting positions and hit rocket-propelled grenade and machine-gun teams. The engagement was part of a lengthy battle between coalition and anti-Afghan forces continuing throughout the day.

Near Gereshk, Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets struck specific buildings within an enemy-occupied residential compound after gunmen inside began firing at a coalition unit. The aircraft used precision GBU-38 targeting to prevent damaging structures surrounding the anti-Afghan fighting positions.

An Air Force B-1B Lancer along with coalition aircraft targeted a cluster of enemy-fighting positions, bunkers, and buildings in the Kajaki Dam area. Employing guided munitions, the aircraft destroyed or routed a major portion of the enemy force that had attempted to hold ground against a coalition ground assault.

In the vicinity of Nurestan, an F-15E dropped GBU-38s to destroy an anti-Afghan fighting position which had apparently been set up using a communications tower as a shield. The pilot used engagement tactics to target the bomb far enough away from the fighting position to prevent damage to the tower while still retaining enough effectiveness to knock out the fighting position.

An Air Force F-15E flew a show of force while providing overwatch to a coalition convoy to discourage an enemy attack as the vehicles passed through Ghazni. The aircraft remained overhead until the convoy safely reached its destination.

Navy Super Hornets performed shows of force over Balocan and Now Zad during coalition operations in those areas. The maneuvers succeeded in deterring enemy forces from taking action while coalition ground troops achieved their objectives.

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

In total, 78 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Thirteen 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, coalition aircraft flew 32 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-three Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Iraq. In addition, four 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 2,750 passengers were transported.

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

On March 18, Air Force tankers flew 50 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.2 million pounds of fuel to 277 receiving aircraft.

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

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