Wednesday, April 29, 2009

US Airpower Summary, April 29, 2009: KC-10s Sustain Fighters

A KC-10 Extender supports air refueling missions over Afghanistan. On April 27, Air Force and coalition tankers flew 46 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3 million pounds of fuel to 241 receiving aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, April 29, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan during operations April 28, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs performed multiple strafing runs to hit anti-Afghan gunmen attacking a coalition forward base. The enemy attack failed after the aircraft's 30mm cannons inflicted heavy casualties among the advancing shooters.

Navy F/A-18C Hornets dropped guided bomb unit-38 and -12s and performed strafing runs to counter an anti-Afghan force which had opened fire on a coalition convoy with automatic weapons and mortars. The aircraft blasted enemy fighting holes nested along ridgelines overlooking the road, ultimately destroying the enemy unit and clearing the road for the convoy to proceed. An Air Force MQ-1B Predator also fired a Hellfire missile during the combat, taking out an enemy position and provided real time reconnaissance for friendly forces.

Near Balocan, a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet performed a show of force over an enemy position in a Wadi after coalition troops had taken fire from there. The maneuver caused the enemy to cease fire, ending the engagement.

In the Lashkar Gah area, a coalition aircraft and Navy Hornets and a Super Hornet executed shows of force to deter enemy aggression. The aircraft performed shows of force to cover coalition actions, including removing an improvised explosive device and clearing a suspected enemy compound.

A-10s flew shows of force over a village near Bagram to preempt enemy attack during dismounted Afghan National Army and coalition patrols. The settlement being patrolled was empty of local residents prior to the patrol's arrival, leading to the ground commander being highly wary of enemy activity.

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

In total, 79 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 Navy 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.

Fifteen 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, 390 tons of cargo were delivered and about 3,100 passengers were transported. Airlift included approximately 55,900 pounds of aerial resupply cargo airdropped over Afghanistan.

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

On April 27, Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 46 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.0 million pounds of fuel to 241 receiving aircraft.

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

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