Monday, March 30, 2009

US Airpower Summary, March 30, 2009: Tankers Refuel 199 Aircraft

A KC-135 Stratotanker refuels a Royal Air Force GR-4 Tornado over Iraq using the multi-point refueling systems. With MPRS, Air Force tankers have the versatility to refuel Air Force, Navy and coalition aircraft all in the same mission. (U.S. Air Force file photo.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, March 30, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan during operations March 29, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets employed guided bomb unit-12s and -38s, destroying enemy caves in the Musa Qala area. Enemy forces had conducted an ambush, exploding an improvised explosive device before opening fire on a coalition convoy.

Near Shindand, a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet executed a show of force and expended flares to halt an enemy attack against a coalition convoy there. The aircraft also flew overwatch, escorting the convoy until the threat from enemy fire was no longer present.

In the Lashkar Gah area, a British Royal Air Force GR-9 Harrier flew shows of force and expended flares to support a coalition ground patrol that was receiving rocket-propelled grenade and small-arms fire. The aircraft's maneuvers kept the enemy pinned down while friendly forces overran the enemy position.

An F-15E Strike Eagle performed a show of force over a Bagram neighborhood, providing an additional measure of security as coalition soldiers halted their convoy. The aircraft stayed overhead to look for potential trouble until the ground troops were ready to move out.

An Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II and a Navy Super Hornet provided shows of force to coalition units as deterrent to enemy activity as those units travelled through the Bagram and Tarin Kowt areas. A coalition aircraft also conducted a show of force in the Garmser area after ground forces spotted enemy personnel moving nearby. The effect of each show of force was that anti-Afghan forces were unable to act while reconstruction and security operations were carried out.

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

In total, 76 close-air-support missions were flown in support of ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Twenty Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Afghanistan. In addition, four Navy and coalition aircraft provided tactical surveillance and reconnaissance.

In Iraq, an Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon dropped a GBU-38 to destroy an enemy bunker near Ba'qubah which coalition ground forces had identified as being booby trapped. A massive secondary explosion following the strike confirmed the bunker had been rigged with explosives.

Coalition aircraft flew 30 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.

Nine Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Iraq. In addition, three Air Force and coalition aircraft provided tactical surveillance and 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 140 airlift sorties were flown, 430 tons of cargo were delivered and about 2,400 passengers were transported.

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

On March 28, Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 42 sorties and off-loaded approximately 2.7 million pounds of fuel to 199 receiving aircraft.

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

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