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Feb. 25 airpower: F-16s provide watch

2/25/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- In Afghanistan Feb. 24, at the direction of a joint terminal attack controller, Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles dropped a guided bomb unit-38 joint direct attack munition and GBU-39 small diameter bombs on single-story buildings being used by the enemy as small arms fire positions near Qurya. The air strikes severely damaged one building and completely destroyed another.

JTACs are highly trained Airmen 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.

French M2000 Mirages performed a show of force, expending multiple flares, for coalition troops in contact with enemies near Pashsbad.

In total, 40 close-air-support missions were flown in support of Afghan and International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, troops, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

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

In Iraq, Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons were assigned to observe two mosques and a roadway for anti-Iraqi activity near Ar Ramadi. The F-16 pilots spotted a vehicle with two individuals inside that stopped on the shoulder of the roadway. When the vehicle departed, the earth on the shoulder of the road looked disturbed. This information was reported to the JTAC for further investigation.

Other Air Force F-16s were assigned to provide over watch while a coalition humvee hit by an improvised explosive device was cleared off the road near Baghdad. One of the F-16 pilots reported five individuals walking south of the area.

The same F-16 pilots also provided over-watch during the search of a suspected insurgent house near Baghdad. The pilots observed the area, then provided over-watch of the previously attacked vehicle while being towed.

F-16s provided over-watch for a convoy that was hit by an IED and had received small arms fire near Baghdad. The pilots observed the area for anti-Iraqi forces.

At the request of a ground commander, other F-16s provided over-watch for a medical evacuation following a small arms and rocket propelled grenade attack near Baghdad. The pilots observed a suspected apartment complex where insurgents fled following the attack. The pilots observed suspicious individuals running in and out of the complex and reported all observations to the JTAC for the ground commander's assessment and action.

Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs were assigned to search for possible IEDs along a roadway near Baghdad. The pilots conducted a search and provided a convoy escort in the same area.

Air Force F-16s searched for enemy activity near Baghdad. The pilots noted approximately ten individuals on roof tops and passed their location to a JTAC. Coalition ground forces engaged this location with a Hellfire missile and the pilots observed several individuals running to a nearby compound. All information was passed to the JTAC for the ground commander's situational awareness before the aircraft left the area.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 45 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, Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq.

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. Nearly 150 airlift sorties were flown; more than 475 tons of cargo were delivered, and approximately 4,170 passengers were transported.

A Canadian C-130 crew flew in support of OIF or OEF.

On Feb. 23, Air Force, RAF and French tankers flew 38 sorties and off-loaded more than 2.5 million pounds of fuel which is the equivalent of over 62 full Air Force fuel trucks.

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