Tuesday, March 24, 2009

US Airpower Summary, March 24, 2009: C-130s Provide Support

A C-130 Hercules taxis at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, after an Operation Iraqi Freedom mission. The C-130 provides intra-theater heavy airlift throughout Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tony R. Tolley.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, March 24, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations March 23, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles bombarded an anti-Afghan cave complex with guided bomb unit-31s and -38s destroying the enemy forces firing at coalition troops from inside several cave entrances. The strike resulted in heavy anti-Afghan forces casualties and the loss of an enemy mountain base of operations.

A Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet flew a show of force and expended flares during an Afghan National Army and coalition raid on an anti-Afghan forces headquarters compound in Garmser. The show of force kept enemy forces pinned down as ground troops forced their way into and captured the compound.

Near Kandahar, an F-15E performed a show of force to provide airpower presence as ordnance disposal technicians blew up a roadside bomb set by anti-Afghan forces. The operation cleared the improvised explosive device which removed the threat it posed to local citizens and military convoys.

Navy F/A-18C Hornets executed several shows of force over anti-Afghan positions hidden amongst local residences in Gereshk, suppressing enemy fire to allow a coalition convoy to pass. The fighter performed shows of force instead of dropping weapons in response to the apparent enemy attempt to provoke a response which would put civilians in harm's way.

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.

Four 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, an Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon conducted a show of force near Iraqi Security Forces and coalition units which were taking fire in Ba'qubah. The maneuver caused enemy to stop shooting which allowed friendly units to move in on the source of the gunfire. Additional F-16s performed shows of force later in the same area to prevent additional enemy hostilities as ground operations continued.

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.

Nineteen 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 125 airlift sorties were flown; 425 tons of cargo was delivered; and about 3,500 passengers were transported. This included approximately 163,200 pounds of aerial resupply materiel dropped over Afghanistan.

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

On March 22, Air Force tankers flew 47 sorties and off-loaded approximately 2.8 million pounds of fuel to 221 receiving aircraft.

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

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