Tuesday, June 23, 2009

US Airpower Summary, June 23, 2009: KC-135s Keep Coalition Aircraft in the Fight

A KC-135 Stratotanker takes off for a mission. Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 52 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.1 million pounds of fuel to 227 receiving aircraft June 21. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, June 23, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations June 22, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, a Royal Air Force MQ-9 Reaper conducted a Hellfire missile strike against a walled compound from which anti-Afghan forces were firing. The aircraft precisely targeted the enemy fighting positions, preventing risk to surrounding structures.

Near Lashkar Gah, an Air Force B-1B Lancer dropped a guided bomb unit-31, destroying an enemy building being used as a firing position. Nearby, Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets carried out shows of force to stop an additional attack from enemy gunmen with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers firing on friendly convoy vehicles. The jets expended flares to emphasize their presence that reduced enemy fire so the convoy could break out and move on.

In the Orgun Area, an Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II used general purpose 500-pound bombs to take out enemy forces in fighting positions along a ridgeline. The enemy positions had been targeting friendly forces with RPG and automatic weapons fire.

In Tarin Kowt, an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle conducted a show of force as an Afghan and coalition foot patrol returned to base. The additional presence of airpower prevented a confrontation with enemy gunmen massing in the area for an attack.

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

In total, 79 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 20 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-three 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 aircraft and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intra-theater heavy airlift, helping to sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa.

Approximately 130 airlift sorties were flown, 480 tons of cargo were delivered and about 2,300 passengers were transported. This included about 129,600 pounds of aerial resupply cargo dropped over Afghanistan.

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

On June 21, Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and "Guardian Angel" teams transported six patients to coalition field hospitals from locations in Afghanistan. Pararescue Team members aboard located, rescued and began treatment to stabilize patients in the battlefield. The HH-60G crew transported these patients to field hospitals in less time than it takes for a civilian patient to reach emergency care by ambulance in most major cities.

Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 52 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.1 million pounds of fuel to 227 receiving aircraft.

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

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