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March 10 airpower: ISR missions critical in war on terrorism

3/10/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials have released the airpower summary for March 10.

In Afghanistan March 9, Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets successfully conducted a leaflet drop over a designated point near Washir. The F/A-18s also provided reconnaissance and a noise presence over a village for coalition ground forces.

Other Navy F/A-18s provided aerial reconnaissance and reported a suspected mortar position. The F/A-18 pilots also observed suspicious individuals in a compound and tree line near Sangin.

Near Kajaki Dam, Navy F/A-18 pilots reported to ground commanders possible enemy activity at a canal. Near Now Zad, other F/A-18s provided an overhead presence for coalition forces and reported possible enemy activity at a nearby building.

In total, 44 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, and Afghan troops, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

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, an Air Force B-1B Lancer provided three shows of presence for coalition forces in contact with enemies near Miqdadiyah. A joint terminal attack controller, or JTAC, reported the shows of presence as successful. A show of presence is a mission flown to reassure friendly forces and the civilian populace. The B-1B then reported trench systems in the area. 

Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs fired cannon rounds at enemies hiding in brush after they engaged with coalition forces near Mahmudiyah. A JTAC reported the cannon rounds were on target. 

Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots looked for possible enemy ambush sites or attack positions to reduce the threat to coalition helicopters flying south to Baghdad. The F-16s also provided counter mortar and improvised explosive device reconnaissance near Yusufiyah.

Other Air Force F-16s provided overwatch in support of a raid by coalition ground forces near Baghdad. The F-16s reported several hot spots after a counter-IED reconnaissance mission in the same area.

Near Balad, Air Force F-16s performed a show of force for coalition ground units preparing to conduct a neighborhood sweep. The show of force was reported by a JTAC as successful and may have prevented engagement from the enemy.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 45 close-air-support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions provided support to coalition troops, infrastructure protection, reconstruction activities and operations to deter and disrupt terrorist activities.

Additionally, 11 Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq.

Air Force C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intra-theater heavy airlift support, helping sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. About 150 airlift sorties were flown; more than 530 tons of cargo were delivered, and approximately 3,165 passengers were transported.

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

On March 8, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force and French air force tankers flew 37 sorties and off-loaded more than 2.7 million pounds of fuel -- the equivalent of more than 65 full Air Force logistics readiness fuel trucks.

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