Friday, June 19, 2009

US Airpower Summary, June 19, 2009: C-17s Help Sustain Ops in Theater

The C-17 Globemaster III is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area. The aircraft can perform tactical airlift and airdrop missions and can also transport litters and ambulatory patients during aeromedical evacuations when required. (U.S. Air Force photo/ by Senior Airman Clay Lancaster.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, June 19, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in the following operations June 18, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, an F-15E Strike Eagle executed strikes near Lashkar Gah releasing guided bomb unit-38s into a grove containing a line of anti-Afghan forces fighting positions. Enemy personnel were firing rocket-propelled grenades and peppering a friendly convoy with small-arms fire, using the trees for cover, when the airstrike took them out.

A Royal Air Force GR-9 Harrier provided backup for an Afghan and coalition unit under fire in Tarin Kowt. Friendly ground troops taking cover called in the strike as bullets ricocheted around them. The Harrier responded, locking in and dropping a Paveway munition on advancing anti-Afghan gunmen. The aircraft then scouted the area for additional enemy forces as the friendly unit regrouped and pushed on with the mission. In the same area, a B-1B Lancer carried out a show of force to prevent additional anti-Afghan forces aggression.

In the vicinity of Kandahar, Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets dived into a firefight, putting Vulcan cannon strafes onto anti-Afghan positions in a treeline. Enemy fire was reduced but not stopped, prompting the Joint terminal attack controller to call for follow-up strikes with GBU-38s and additional gun passes. The jets cleared the treeline then stopped a second enemy force along a ridgeline before they could launch a counterattack. Coalition ground troops confirmed the Taliban force's commander was killed during the engagement.

An A-10 Thunderbolt II carried out a show of force over the Asmar area. An Afghan and coalition forces foot patrol was walking through a village when enemy forces hiding in civilian buildings started firing RPGs and automatic weapons into the streets without regard for local residents. The A-10's appearance over town prompted the shooters to break off the attack.

In Oruzgan, a B-1B flew a show of force, expending several flares over the area to provide emphasis, stopping enemy personnel from firing RPGs and machine guns at an approaching friendly unit. The large bomber's flyover led the hostile gunmen to stop shooting and flee the area.

In Ghazni, enemy personnel set up an improvised explosive device to attack a coalition convoy, shot at Afghan National Army personnel, then occupied a school and continued firing in a clear attempt to draw return fire onto civilians. Coalition personnel discovered the IED before it was detonated and were disarming it when the enemy started shooting, leading them to radio for a show of force to deter the enemy. An A-10 responded, flying a low pass over the school and expending flares. The maneuver caused anti-Afghan forces to stop firing and disperse from the village, ending their hostile action.

A-10s carried out shows of force over Orgun and Sheykhabad to deter enemy fire against coalition and Afghan security forces. Their attacks were stopped without further incident.

Additional Air Force and Royal Air Force aircraft used shows of force in the Kabul, Lashkar Gah and Kandahar regions to prevent enemy attacks while combined Afghan and coalition missions went forward. This use of the aircraft ultimately prevented the enemy from being able to attack at all in those places, allowing operations to continue without interference and avoiding danger for Afghan civilians.

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

In total, 83 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the 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, two Navy aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

In Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 15 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.

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

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 125 airlift sorties were flown, 320 tons of cargo were delivered, and about 2,200 passengers were transported.

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

On June 17, HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters and "Guardian Angel" teams transported 14 patients to coalition field hospitals from locations in Afghanistan.

Aerial refueling crews flew 46 sorties and off-loaded approximately 2.6 million pounds of fuel to 179 receiving aircraft.

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

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