Friday, March 27, 2009

US Airpower Summary, March 27, 2009: F-16s Provide Cover

F-16 Fighting Falcons fly over Southwest Asia. The F-16 is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. (U.S. Air Force photo.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, March 27, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations March 26, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, coalition aircraft employed a guided bomb unit-12 and cannon strafes against anti-Afghan personnel who were observed planting an improvised explosive device near Kajaki Dam. The aircraft waited until the personnel were away from civilian structures before beginning attack. The individuals attempted to escape on a motorcycle after they became aware of the aircraft's presence, but were caught in the GBU-12 explosion that destroyed the motorcycle. The passenger was able to survive the explosion and tried to run away, but was finished off by the jet's strafing pass.

Near Nangalam, a flight of Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles took out multiple enemy fighting positions using a variety of guided munitions after anti-Afghan forces were detected preparing to attack a coalition base. The aircraft destroyed several heavy machine gun nests during the engagement, followed up by strikes targeting enemy gunmen trying to escape into the mountains.

A Navy F/A-18C Hornet executed a show of force and expended flares in the vicinity of Garmser after coalition ground troops spotted suspicious individuals on a roadside culvert. The individuals, who appeared to be readying a site for IED emplacement, fled the area. A coalition aircraft also performed a show of force in the area later in the day when other potential enemy activity was noted.

An Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-15E flew additional shows of force over Garmser and Bagram in order to deter enemy activity in those areas.

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

In total, 68 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Six Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons flying near Ba'qubah provided cover for Iraqi and coalition security forces' operations, responding to an insurgent attack against friendly troops with several strikes. The aircraft employed GBU-38s and multiple cannon strafes against enemy targets, which included armed gunmen, insurgent vehicles, and enemy positions.

Coalition aircraft flew 24 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, 400 tons of cargo were delivered and about 3,650 passengers were transported.

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

On March 25, Air Force tankers flew 43 sorties and off-loaded approximately 2.9 million pounds of fuel to 209 receiving aircraft.

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

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