Tuesday, April 21, 2009

US Airpower Summary, April 21, 2009: Tankers Fuel the Fleet

KC-135 Stratotankers, like the one shown here refueling F-16 Fighting Falcons, off-loaded approximately 3.3 million pounds of fuel while refueling 252 coalition aircraft April 19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jerry Fleshman.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, April 21. 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan during operations April 20, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, an Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber destroyed an anti-Afghan fighting position in a building near Oruzgan. The weapon, a guided bomb unit-38, was set to a tightly constrained fusing configuration to restrict damage to surrounding structures.

In Lashkar Gah, a pair of Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs engaged an enemy truck armed with an anti-aircraft machine gun. The A-10s used their 30mm Avenger cannons to destroy the truck and the machine gun. Also in the area, a Navy F/A-18C Hornet flew a show of force and launched flares to deter enemy suicide bombers after a source warned coalition forces of enemy preparations.

Near Asadabad, a B-1B dropped a GBU-38 and -31 to destroy an anti-Afghan position containing a recoilless rifle position. An Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle also provided overwatch in the area.

An F-15E and an A-10 flew shows of force to deter enemy actions during two operations in the Kabul area. The F-15E performed its maneuver after a coalition air-assault unit began taking small-arms fire. The A-10 executed a show of force just outside a coalition forward base that had been engaged by enemy gunmen. Anti-Afghan personnel ceased fire and withdrew after the shows of force.

In the Kandahar area, a coalition aircraft executed a show of force after a friendly helicopter made an emergency landing. The aircraft provided aerial overwatch as the crew evacuated and helped secure the landing site until a recovery team reached the area.

A coalition aircraft performed shows of force and launched flares to deter enemy attackers after a coalition mounted patrol had a vehicle disabled by enemy fire. Enemy forces had been firing at the patrol with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and assault rifles but were deterred by the arrival of the aircraft.

A-10s conducted shows of force and launched flares to deter enemy aggression near coalition forward bases near Bagram and Asadabad. The additional air presence served to discouraged hostile actions and prevented enemy forces from interfering with local security operations.

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

In total, 84 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, two coalition aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

In Iraq, 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.

Twenty-six Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Iraq. In addition, three coalition and Navy 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, 450 tons of cargo were delivered and about 2,900 passengers were transported. Airlift included approximately 71,700 tons of aerial resupply dropped over Afghanistan.

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

On April 19, Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 46 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.3 million pounds of fuel to 252 receiving aircraft.

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

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