Wednesday, April 1, 2009

US Airpower Summary, April 1, 2009: C-17s Deliver for Warfighters

A C-17 Globemaster III, like this one, performs tactical airlift and airdrop missions, transports passengers and delivers troop supplies throughout Southwest Asia in support of operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Clark Staehle)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, April 1, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations March 31, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, a large, two-day battle between coalition forces and anti-Afghan forces concluded after extensive airpower and ground force engagement, resulting in heavy losses to enemy personnel. Dozens of aircraft from the Navy and Air Force, Royal Air Force and other coalition partners employed guided bomb units, cannon strafes and rocket fire against enemy fighting positions, buildings and personnel concentrations while providing continuous aircover to friendly ground units. Initial reports estimated more than 30 enemy personnel were killed in the fight, which began as an improvised explosive attack followed up with mortar and automatic weapons fire.

Near Balocan, a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet executed a show of force after a brief firefight between enemy forces and coalition ground troops. The maneuver suppressed enemy fire as medical evacuation helicopters retrieved patients from a nearby landing zone.

An F/A-18E also flew a show of force near Gereshk and provided overwatch for a coalition convoy. The convoy had taken heavy fire and was pinned down until the aircraft arrived, after which enemy forces withdrew from the area.

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

In total, 71 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Eight 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, 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-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 130 airlift sorties were flown, 400 tons of cargo were delivered and about 3,000 passengers were transported. This included approximately 46,000 tons of aerial resupply cargo airdropped over Afghanistan.

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

On March 30, Air Force tankers flew 48 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.0 million pounds of fuel to 248 receiving aircraft.

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

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