Monday, May 4, 2009

US Airpower Summary, May 4, 2009: B-1B Bombs Narcotics Facility

A B-1B Lancer flies a combat patrol mission over Afghanistan recently. B-1Bs fly close-air-support missions for both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The B-1B is assigned to the 34th Expeditionary Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, May 4, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan during operations May 3, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, an Air Force B-1B Lancer bombed a narcotics facility near Washir using guided bomb unit-38s and -31s. A substantial quantity of drugs was destroyed in the strike, reducing a key source of anti-Afghan forces' funding.

Near Gardez, a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet and an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle conducted shows of force after an Afghan National Army and coalition patrol came under enemy fire. One enemy-firing position ceased fire and the anti-Afghan forces there withdrew. However, the Strike Eagle performed a warning strafe into an empty field at the request of the ground forces commander after additional enemy forces did not stop firing following the shows of force. The strafing pass was successful in ending the fight.

Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs carried out a strafing run against an enemy mortar site in Asmar after marking it with smoke to ensure proper target identification. The jets were responding to an anti-Afghan forces attack against a coalition forward base.

In the vicinity of Asmar, F-15Es engaged anti-Afghan forces using GBU-31s and -38s. The jets were responding to a call from a coalition ground force commander for airstrikes against enemy gunmen firing assault weapons at a friendly unit.

An F-15E carried out a show of force over Gardez when a friendly ground unit started receiving gunfire. The maneuver allowed the unit to break contact from the engagement in which anti-Afghan forces were firing indiscriminately in the civilian settlement.

In Lashkar Gah, a Strike Eagle performed a show of force to halt gun fire by anti-Afghan forces against Afghan National Police personnel. Enemy gunmen employed rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons to target policemen who were providing security in the area. The gunmen fled the scene when the jet arrived.

Several Navy F/A-18C Hornets and F/A-18F Super Hornets performed shows of force in several areas of Afghanistan in support of coalition and Afghan convoy operations. The maneuvers deterred enemy activity while friendly forces carried out humanitarian and reconstruction operations.

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

In total, 65 close-air-support missions were flown in support of ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Fourteen 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, Air Force F-16Cs flew several shows of force over Baghdad to provide an aerial presence during Iraqi ground operations. The addition of aircraft to the operations helped prevent violence as the Iraqi security forces conducted security sweeps.

Coalition aircraft flew 16 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-five Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Iraq. In addition, one 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 3,200 passengers were transported. Airlift included approximately 127,400 pounds of resupply cargo airdropped over Afghanistan.

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

On May 2, Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 48 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.1 million pounds of fuel to 207 receiving aircraft.

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

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