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Feb. 17 airpower: A-10s provide over watch

2/17/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials have released the airpower summary for Feb. 17.

In Afghanistan Feb. 16, U.S. Navy F/A-18 Horntes provided close-air support for International Security Assistance Force troops receiving small arms and mortar fire from enemy forces near Musa Qal'eh. A Joint Terminal Attack Controller passed the coordinates to a compound where the enemy forces were seen entering. The F/A-18s expended Guided Bomb Unit-12s on the compound, directly hitting it according to the JTAC report.

JTACs are highly trained Air Force personnel who advise ground commanders on appropriate air power support, relay the ground commander's intent to air power assets overhead and communicate with aircrews for precision engagement.

The F/A-18s were also tasked to provide a show of force, expending multiple flares in the same area to keep enemy fire suppressed while coalition ground forces left the area. Before the F/A-18s departed, they were tasked with assessing the number of vehicles and personnel in the area.

Other Navy F/A-18s provided over watch for a coalition convoy near Musa Qal'eh. The F/A-18s also were tasked with locating the origin of enemy mortar and small arms fire position. An F/A-18 pilot located a moving vehicle near the location and followed it until the vehicle stopped, relaying the location to the JTAC.

Other F/A-18s were tasked with expending a GBU-38 on a hostile position being targeted by coalition mortar and artillery fire near Pashsbad, successfully hitting the target.

French M2000 Mirages provided over watch for troops in contact with enemy forces near Pashsbad.

In total, 45 close-air-support missions were flown in support of ISAF and Afghan troops, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

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

In Iraq, Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs provided over watch for a disabled coalition vehicle near Baghdad. The A-10s were also tasked to support coalition vehicles that received heavy small arms fire.

Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons were tasked to search for enemy activity and observed approximately 15 individuals unloading a vehicle at a residence before departing for another residence near Baghdad . The activity was reported to the ground commander via the JTAC. The F-16s continued to search for enemy activity in the area and provide over watch for troops in contact with enemy forces.

Other F-16s were tasked to observe an enemy fire position and to support counter-mortar activity near Ali Saray.

Royal Air Force GR-4 Tornados were tasked to provide over watch for a boat patrol receiving small arms fire near Baghdad. The GR-4s were also tasked to support troops in contact with enemy forces and over watch a ground assault against two anti-Iraqi personnel in compounds.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 56 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, 16 Air Force, Navy, RAF and Royal Australian Air Force ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq.

Air Force C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intratheater heavy airlift support, helping sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. They flew more than 170 airlift sorties, transported 3,800 passengers, and delivered more than 545 tons of cargo including more than 22,150 pounds of troop re-supply air-dropped in Afghanistan.

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

On Feb. 15, Air Force, RAF and French tankers flew 34 sorties and off-loaded more than 2.4 million pounds of fuel.

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