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Feb. 28 airpower: Tankers provide air bridge

2/28/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials have released the airpower summary for Feb. 28.

In Afghanistan Feb. 27, an Air Force B-1 Lancer provided close-air support to coalition forces receiving heavy machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire from enemies on a ridgeline near Energay. The B-1 dropped guided bomb unit-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions on the ridgeline with good effects as reported by the joint terminal attack controller on scene.

U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets provided shows of force, expending flares, for coalition troops in contact with enemy forces near Now Zad. The F/A-18 pilots observed two individuals walking on a ridge and eight individuals in a field and reported the information to the ground commander through the JTAC.

Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles provided close-air support for coalition troops receiving mortar fire near Musa Qal'eh. An F-15E dropped a GBU-38 on the mortar fire position directly hitting it.

Royal Air Force GR-7 Harriers provided close-air support for coalition troops receiving small arms fire near Now Zad. The GR-7s released enhanced Paveway II munitions on an enemy forces trench, tunnel complex and building. Good hits were reported on all targets and enemy fire ceased.

Other RAF GR-7s provided over-watch for a medical evacuation after a JTAC had reason to believe a possible ambush was underway near Energay.

In total, 34 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, and Afghan troops, reconstruction activities and route patrols. 

Ten Air Force and RAF intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Afghanistan. Additionally, 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 close-air support to troops engaged in enemy contact near Baqubah. Coalition forces were receiving small-arms fire from a ground floor, sniper fire from a rooftop and RPG fire from the middle floors of a multi-story building. The A-10s dropped GBU-12 laser guided bombs on the building directly hitting it with good effects as described by the JTAC.

Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots searched multiple routes during a counter-improvised explosive device mission near Baghdad. The F-16 pilots also provided over-watch for the medical evacuation of an injured person near Baghdad .

Other Air Force F-16s searched multiple routes during counter-improvised explosive device missions near Baghdad. The pilots identified a hot cylindrical object next to a road and provided the coordinates to the JTAC.

Additional Air Force F-16s provided air protection for a convoy recently attacked by an IED near Hawijah. The F-16s also provided over-watch for two convoys until they arrived at their forward operating base.

Air Force F-16s also provided close-air support for coalition vehicle checkpoints and supported Army units by conducting over-watch of their locations near Baghdad.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 47 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, 14 Air Force, Navy, RAF 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; nearly 570 tons of cargo were delivered, and approximately 2,915 passengers were transported.

Coalition C-130 crews from Canada , Australia and Korea flew in support of OIF or OEF.
On Feb. 26, Air Force, RAF and French tankers flew 34 sorties and off-loaded almost 2.2 million pounds of fuel which is the equivalent of over 55 full Air Force fuel trucks. 

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