Thursday, April 30, 2009

US Airpower Summary, April 30, 2009: C-130s Sustain War Efforts

A C-130 Hercules prepares to depart on a sortie in Southwest Asia. C-130s deliver supplies to warfighter in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Raheem Moore. )

Dispatches from the Front:

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

In Afghanistan, a coalition aircraft employed a guided bomb unit-12 to hit an enemy fighting position. The strike was carried out after Afghan National Army troops clearing a series of compounds started taking enemy small-arms fire from the area. The aircraft coordinated with ground force observers to confirm that the weapons fire was coming from the targeted location before bombing the position.

Near Kajaki Dam, a Navy F/A-18C Hornet carried out GBU-12 and -38 strikes against anti-Afghan forces bunkers when enemy personnel opened fire with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades against a coalition supply convoy. The aircraft also detected improvised explosive devices enemy forces had planted in the roadway, including one concealed in an animal carcass.

Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles flying over Worzhanah Kalay used GBU-38s to bomb a concealed enemy mortar team. The ground commander of a reconstruction supply convoy called in the strike after the team was spotted by security personnel. A coalition aircraft also flew a show of force over the site of an earlier engagement to deter further hostilities.

Later, in the same area, Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and F-15Es used several guided bombs and strafes to protect the convoy as additional enemy forces tried to attack. The aircraft hit enemy observation posts and firing positions. When enemy forces disabled a convoy vehicle with an IED, an F-15E flew a show of force to provide additional security as soldiers transferred personnel and equipment to another vehicle.

In the Tirgari area, an A-10 conducted shows of force after an Afghan National Army and coalition convoy returning to base observed enemy gunmen. The aircraft remained overhead providing additional security until the convoy safely reached its destination.

In Surkhabad, a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet executed a show of force and launched flares when an Afghan National Army and coalition foot patrol started taking fire from enemy gunmen hiding in a civilian compound. The show of force suppressed hostile fire and caused the gunmen to reveal their position. This allowed friendly ground forces to overcome them.

Near Nangalam, an A-10 carried out a show of force to deter enemy aggression near a coalition forward base. The presence of airpower limited enemy action and ensured added security for area residents.

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 160 airlift sorties were flown, 550 tons of cargo were delivered and about 2,800 passengers were transported. Airlift included approximately 156,600 pounds of aerial resupply cargo airdropped over Afghanistan.

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

On April 28, Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 47 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.2 million pounds of fuel to 228 receiving aircraft.

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

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