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Feb. 13 airpower: B-1Bs support International Security Assistance Force troops

2/13/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials have released the airpower summary for Feb. 13.

In Afghanistan Feb. 12, Air Force B-1B Lancers, Navy F/A-18 Hornets and Royal Air Force GR-7 Harriers provided close-air support for International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, troops in contact with Taliban extremists near Musa Qal'eh.

A B-1B provided a show of force to support coalition forces clearing enemy positions. The joint terminal attack controller, or JTAC, reported "all clear" after the show of force.

At the request of a JTAC, one of the F/A-18s successfully expended a guided bomb unit-38 on enemy forces in a cave. The JTAC reported enemy forces running into the cave after firing small arms at coalition ground forces. The JTAC confirmed weapon impact as a direct hit.  F/A-18s also provided a show of force, expending flares while troops cleared buildings. The JTAC confirmed there was no resistance after the show of force.

In total, 39 close-air-support missions were flown in support of ISAF and Afghan troops, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Additionally, nine Air Force and RAF intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Afghanistan . U.S. Navy fighter aircraft performed in non-traditional ISR roles with their electro-optical and infrared sensors. 

ISR persistence over targets increases reliability of "intelligence" and provides real-time definition of targets and surrounding areas. A better sight picture improves coalition forces' ability to avoid non-combatants.

In Iraq , Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons provided over-watch for Iraqi Army and coalition forces performing search operations near Al Yusufiyah. At the tasking of a JTAC, the F-16s also observed multiple locations for improvised explosive devices and identified one location of possible hostile activity. The information was relayed back to the JTAC to pass to the ground commander.

Air Force F-16s also performed counter-IED missions along several roadways near Baghdad.

RAF GR-4 Tornados provided close-air support to troops in contact with anti-Iraqi forces in the vicinity of Baqubah. One of the GR-4s conducted a very low show of force causing individuals to flee the scene, ending the conflict. Another GR-4 provided over-watch for a convoy after an IED strike occurred. Once the convoy recovered vehicles and casualties, the GR-7 escorted the convoy safely to its destination.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 48 close- air-support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions included support to coalition troops, infrastructure protection, reconstruction activities and operations to deter and disrupt terrorist activities.

Additionally, nine Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq . An Air Force fighter aircraft performed in a non-traditional ISR role with electro-optical and infrared sensors.

Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intra-theater heavy airlift support, helping sustain operations throughout Afghanistan , Iraq and the Horn of Africa. More than 135 airlift sorties were flown; more than 660 tons of cargo was delivered, and approximately 2,430 passengers were transported.

Coalition C-130 crews from Australia , Canada and Japan flew in support of OIF or OEF.

On Feb. 11, Air Force, RAF and French tankers flew 34 sorties and off-loaded almost 2.1 million pounds of fuel.

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