Wednesday, May 13, 2009

US Airpower Summary, May 13, 2009: B-1B Strikes Enemy Facility

A B-1B Lancer at a forward deployed location in Southwwest Asia prepares for a mission. Lancers support both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Clark Staehle.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, May 13, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations May 12, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, an Air Force B-1B Lancer carried out a planned strike against an enemy facility in the Kandahar region. The aircraft targeted and destroyed the large building using guided bomb unit-31s.

In Shurakian, a B-1B bombed an enemy-fighting position in a compound using a GBU-38. The strike took out an anti-Afghan strongpoint which had been firing rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns at Afghan security forces and coalition troops.

An Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle and a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet hit anti-Afghan gunmen with several 20 mm cannon strafes in the Shindand area. Targeting enemy forces hidden in tree lines and behind the walls of a compound.

Near Qalat, a Navy F/A-18F dropped a GBU-12 and conducted a strafing run targeting enemy forces clustered on a ridgeline. Enemy forces had attacked friendly soldiers with an IED earlier.

A coalition aircraft flew shows of force over Lashkar Gah after anti-Afghan forces shot at a friendly convoy. The firefight ended once the aircraft arrived. Later in the day, a Royal Air Force GR-9 Harrier performed a show of force over a compound where enemy personnel were firing at Afghan security forces, suppressing their fire.

Near Baghdad, F-15Es carried out shows of force to deter enemy action while providing armed overwatch to a coalition convoy. Ground forces had observed gunfire in the area and requested the shows of force to prevent an engagement which could potentially harm local residents.

An Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II executed shows of force and expended flares to pre-empt an enemy attack on a coalition observation post near Shkin. The aircraft also provided overwatch for the position.

In the vicinity of Tarin Kowt, a GR-9 flew a show of force to deter RPG and small-arms fire against Afghan National Army patrols. The aircraft also located a group of people who appeared to be planting an improvised explosive device and called in Afghan security forces to question the individuals.

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

In total, 74 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Eighteen Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Afghanistan. In addition, four Navy and coalition aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

In Iraq, Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons carried out deliberate strikes near Baghdad and Mosul while supporting Iraqi security forces operations. The aircraft used guided bomb unit-38s to strike enemy ammo storage bunkers and facilities. An F-16 also carried out a show of force as a demonstration of presence on behalf of Iraqi security forces.

Coalition aircraft flew 29 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-seven 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; 400 tons of cargo was delivered; and about 3,250 passengers were transported. This included approximately 24,000 pounds of resupply cargo airdropped over Afghanistan.

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

On May 11, Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 50 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.0 million pounds of fuel to 257 receiving aircraft.

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

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