Monday, May 18, 2009

US Airpower Summary, May 18, 2009: F-15Es Support Coalition Forces

An F-15E Strike Eagle flies over Afghanistan. The F-15E is a dual-role fighter designed to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions as well as provide armed aerial overwatch. The aircraft is assigned to the 391st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, May 18, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan during operations May 17, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, an Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II carried out strafing attacks in Orgun, targeting anti-Afghan forces entrenched in a ravine. The enemy group had targeted Afghan and coalition ground forces. The aircraft used smoke rounds to mark the target prior to engaging, ensuring nearby civilian structures would not be at risk.

In the vicinity of Asadabad, an A-10 was called in to destroy anti-Afghan fighting positions detected during a friendly ground operation. The aircraft spotted enemy fighters in dug-in locations preparing to open fire, targeting them with guided bomb unit-38s.

An Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle conducted a show of force to deter enemy aggression near Shurakian. Afghan National Army personnel were receiving enemy fire and called in the request for air support, which suppressed the attack.

Near Qarah Bagh, an F-15E executed a show of force while providing close-air support to a friendly convoy. The convoy had been under enemy attack in an improvised explosive device-initiated ambush accompanied by rocket-propelled grenades and machine gun fire. The convoy was able to break away and continue once the aircraft passed overhead.

An F-15E performed a show of force over Lashkar Gah and expended flares in order to stop anti-Afghan small arms fire against a coalition convoy. The jet provided tactical reconnaissance after the ensuing retreat of enemy personnel. Later on, a coalition aircraft also flew a show of force in the area after a convoy encountered enemy small-arms fire, allowing the convoy to disengage and return to base.

In Qal-E-Naw, an Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber launched flares while flying a show of force when a friendly ground unit came under threat of immediate enemy attack. The show of force prevented violence from breaking out, allowing the unit to continue its mission.

An A-10 carried out a show of force near a coalition forward base in order to prevent an enemy attack on the installation. Sentries had seen signs of suspicious activity and requested the maneuver to deter enemy action.

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

In total, 56 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Nineteen 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-six Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Iraq.

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 152 airlift sorties were flown, 475 tons of cargo were delivered and about 3,900 passengers were transported. Airlift included approximately 57,000 pounds of resupply cargo airdropped over Afghanistan.

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

On May 16, U.S. Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 43 sorties and off-loaded approximately 2.6 million pounds of fuel to 181 receiving aircraft.

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

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