Sunday, April 12, 2009

US Airpower Summary, April 12, 2009: ISR Critical to Mission

An MQ-1 Predator returns to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, from an Operation Enduring Freedom mission. The Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle primarily used for armed interdiction, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Demetrius Lester.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, April 12, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan during operations April 11, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles and a coalition aircraft used strafing attacks to counter hostile fire against an Afghan National Army and coalition patrol near Lashkar Gah. The aircraft carried out the strafes against anti-Afghan forces gunmen hiding along several tree lines. A Navy F/A-18C Hornet also flew a show of force in the area to suppress enemy rocket propelled grenade and machine gun fire.

Near Qalat, Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets strafed a ridgeline where anti-Afghan forces were positioned. Ground controllers requested the attack after enemy personnel started taking shots at a coalition unit.

An F-15E dropped GBU-38s on a group of enemy gunmen near Sheykhabad. The gunmen were attempting to withdraw after a firefight with a coalition patrol, but were unable to escape observation.

Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs over Asmar used general-purpose 500-pound bombs and numerous strafing passes to take out multiple anti-Afghan forces RPG and automatic weapons positions and bunkers. The A-10s marked their targets with smoke to aid in visual identification and coordination of the strikes with friendly ground troops.

An A-10 executed a show of force and launched flares over Gardez to stop enemy mortar and assault rifle fire against a coalition force. Enemy fire ceased after the aircraft's appearance.

Air Force and coalition aircraft performed shows of force to deter enemy action in several areas of Afghanistan, including Sangin, Nurestan and Garmser regions. The shows of force served to limit the ability of anti-Afghan forces to operate, allowing coalition and Afghan units to perform rebuilding, humanitarian and security operations without hindrance.

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

In total, 64 close-air-support missions were flown in support of ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Fourteen Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Afghanistan. In addition, two coalition aircraft performed tactical 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-five 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 140 airlift sorties were flown, 450 tons of cargo were delivered and about 2,500 passengers were transported. Airlift included approximately 71,700 pounds of aerial resupply cargo dropped over Afghanistan.

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

On April 10, Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 39 sorties and off-loaded approximately 2.6 million pounds of fuel to 190 receiving aircraft.

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

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