Tuesday, May 26, 2009

US Airpower Summary, May 26, 2009: C-17s Provide Intra-Theater Airlift

C-17 Globemasters, like the ones shown here at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., provide intra-theater heavy airlift, helping to sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Stephanie Rubi.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, May 26, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan during operations May 25, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, a Royal Air Force GR-9 Harrier along with Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets conducted strikes in the Tarin Kowt area after a friendly unit discovered an improvised explosive device and saw enemy forces setting up for an ambush. The jets used rockets and guided bomb unit-38s to hit enemy positions set up along a roadside treeline and along a riverbank. An aircraft also tracked the movement of an enemy spotter on a motorbike, allowing a follow-on strike on hostile emplacements firing on the friendly unit with mortars and sporadic gunshots.

In the vicinity of Asadabad, an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle used a GBU-31 to target enemy forces along a mountain route as they headed towards Pakistan. The enemy personnel had carried out an attack against Afghan security forces with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons just prior to the strike and were attempting to escape across the border. Nearby, Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs conducted numerous strafing passes, tearing into treelines full of enemy forces fighting positions.

In Ghazni, A-10s carried out strafing passes against enemy gunmen in a field who were running from a firefight. The gunmen had just attacked coalition and Afghan forces with RPGs and assault rifles and were trying to get away.

Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets dropped a GBU-38 and strafed enemy positions near Qalat after anti-Afghan forces initiated an ambush. The Super Hornets used their bombs and guns to pick off hostile hillside fighting positions, freeing a convoy from the enemy's roadside attack.

A Super Hornet flew a show of force over Sangin supporting Afghan forces conducting a search operation in the town. Enemy forces were holed up in a compound and firing at the friendly unit. The maneuver suppressed enemy fire so Afghan troops could go in and capture the location.

In Lashkar Gah, Navy F/A-18C Hornets flew shows of force to deter enemy attack and to support convoys travelling through the area. The aircraft helped the convoys avoid firefights which could have prevented them from completing missions in support of Afghan reconstruction or endangered local residents.

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

In total, 80 close-air-support missions were flown in support of ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Twenty-two 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, coalition aircraft flew 25 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-four 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 140 airlift sorties were flown, 490 tons of cargo were delivered and about 3,300 passengers were transported. Airlift included about 53,400 pounds of aerial resupply cargo dropped over Afghanistan.

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

On May 24, Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 49 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.0 million pounds of fuel to 224 receiving aircraft.

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

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