Sunday, May 31, 2009

US Airpower Summary, May 31, 2009: A-10 Destroys Weapons Cache

An A-10 Thunderbolt II, like the one pictured here, used a guided bomb unit 38 to destroy an anti-Afghan forces weapons cache May 30. (U.S. Air Force photo.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, May 31, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan during operations May 30, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs flying a close-air-support mission over Asadabad destroyed numerous enemy fighting positions with guided bomb unit-38s. A friendly unit had taken small-arms fire from the positions prior to requesting the air strikes.

Near Orgun, an A-10 used a GBU-38 to destroy an anti-Afghan forces cache where enemy personnel were in the process of stockpiling weapons. The aircraft took a hand-off from an MQ-1B Predator, which had monitored the enemy personnel bringing a large quantity of weapons and ammo into the location prior to the strike. Nearby, a Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet flew a show of force and expended flares, stopping enemy fire from anti-Afghan shooters against a convoy on a ridgeline.

Navy F/A-18Fs used a GBU-12 and strafing passes to disable a van rigged with a car bomb after enemy forces tried to attack a supply convoy with it near Musa Qala. Gunmen had fired from the windows of the van as it had accelerated toward the convoy, its vehicle driver ignoring both visual signals and warning shots fired from the convoy. After the driver was killed in the strike, two individuals fled from the van but were captured by security forces.

In the vicinity of Lashkar Gah, an Air Force MQ-9A Reaper targeted enemy personnel in a tree line with a Hellfire missile. The gunmen had been firing at Afghan National Police personnel until the missile's impact cut their fire short.

Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles and Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets performed shows of force near Qalat to drive off anti-Afghan forces attacking a friendly convoy. The lead vehicle of the convoy had been hit by a roadside bomb causing the entire convoy to come under fire, prompting the convoy commander to call for air support. The aircraft provided overwatch to allow the convoy to safely withdraw as enemy activity stopped once they arrived.

A Super Hornet flew a show of force and expended flares after a dismounted coalition patrol discovered an improvised explosive device, preventing an ambush. Enemy personnel ran from the area immediately after the aircraft passed overhead.

Near Lashkar Gah, Navy F/A-18C Hornets conducted shows of force, expending flares, to prevent anti-Afghan forces attacks on friendly convoys. Aircraft performed a show of force over a road junction where enemy forces were detected setting up for an ambush, as well as over a road chokepoint where a group of men had surrounded an Afghan convoy vehicle. In both cases, hostile personnel ran away from the area after the aircraft arrived on scene.

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

In total, 76 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Twenty-one 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 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-four Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Iraq. In addition, two Air Force aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

Air Force C-130 Hercules 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, 600 tons of cargo were delivered and about 3,400 passengers were transported. Airlift included about 27,500 pounds of aerial resupply cargo dropped over Afghanistan.

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

On May 29, Air Force tankers flew 49 sorties and off-loaded approximately 2.6 million pounds of fuel to 194 receiving aircraft.

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

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