Wednesday, July 1, 2009

US Airpower Summary, July 1, 2009: Reaper Hits Enemy Forces

A fully armed MQ-9 Reaper taxies down a runway. The Reaper is a medium-to-high altitude, long endurance unmanned aircraft system. It is a persistent hunter-killer against emerging targets to achieve joint force commander objectives. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, July 1, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations June 30, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, an Air Force MQ-9 Reaper employed a guided bomb unit-12 to hit a group of anti-Afghan forces near Qalat. The strike took place in response to enemy fire on an Afghan and coalition unit.

An Air Force MQ-1 Predator and a MQ-9 both used Hellfire missiles to precisely target enemy gunmen in fighting positions protected from ground fire by rocks and boulders near Surkhabad. Afterward, the Reaper followed up with an additional strike against the fleeing gunmen. The aircraft coordinated with ground forces observers who verified that the targeted individuals were armed and firing rocket-propelled grenades and small arms at friendly forces.

Near Qarah Bagh, an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle performed shows of force to aid a civilian supply convoy's withdrawal from an enemy ambush. The Afghan convoy was attacked by enemy personnel who fled the area after the jet's demonstrations. The convoy was able to continue on and deliver its cargo to its destination under the F-15E's watch, supporting reconstruction efforts.

A Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet flew a show of force over Moqor to help Afghan National Army troops locate and identify anti-Afghan forces in the area. Anti-Afghan personnel had indiscriminately opened fire on the village the ANA had been patrolling, with enemy shooters taking long distance, poorly-aimed shots with small arms and rocket propelled grenades from the hills bordering the town. The F/A-18E's show of force, emphasized by an expenditure of flares, caused enemy fire to cease as they fled the area.

In Gereshk, a Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet conducted shows of force to aid a unit that had been attacked by anti-Afghan forces with indirect fire and automatic weapons. The aircraft also performed tactical reconnaissance for ground forces operating in the area.

A Royal Air Force GR-4 Tornado carried out repeated shows of force in the vicinity of Lashkar Gah to stop sporadic enemy fire and to deter a larger scale attack against a friendly convoy. The aircraft also located an enemy fighting position inside a civilian compound, but was able to prevent any additional enemy attack from materializing.

In the Salerno area, an F-15E flew shows of force, enabling an Afghan and coalition unit taking hostile fire to break away from the engagement. Enemy fire ceased following the flyovers, allowing the unit to pull back and regroup.

An F-15E flying over Sheykhabad executed a show of force to deter enemy aggression. The strike stopped enemy personnel seen in the area from taking action, preventing the risk their gunfire potentially posed to friendly forces and civilian residents.

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

In total, 75 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, three Navy and coalition aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

In Iraq, coalition aircraft flew eight 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, 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 120 airlift sorties were flown, 430 tons of cargo were delivered and about 3,250 passengers were transported. This included about 181,200 pounds of aerial resupply cargo dropped over Afghanistan.

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

On June 29, Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and "Guardian Angel" teams transported 20 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 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 tanker crews flew 56 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.1 million pounds of fuel to 238 receiving aircraft.

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

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