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March 13 airpower: Tankers keep coalition fighters flying

3/13/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials have released the airpower summary for March 13.

In Afghanistan March 12, an Air Force B-1B Lancer dropped guided bomb unit-38s on enemy buildings near Sangin. The B-1B strike came after coalition forces received mortar and machine gun fire. A joint terminal attack controller on-scene confirmed direct hits for all weapons.

U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets successfully conducted a leaflet drop over a designated point near Qurya. The F/A-18s also provided reconnaissance for suspicious activity along a coalition route in the same area.

Other U.S. Navy F/A-18s dropped GBU-12s and GBU-38s and fired cannon rounds on multiple enemy buildings near Sangin. The desired targets were hit by all weapons according to a JTAC. In the same area, another F/A-18 dropped a GBU-12 on a wall inside a compound, destroying it, as described by the JTAC.

Near Sangin, other U.S. Navy F/A-18s fired cannon rounds at an insurgent in a treeline. A JTAC confirmed the desired effect was achieved. An F/A-18 also dropped a GBU-12 on an enemy building hitting it directly.

Near Mogholabad, Navy F/A-18s provided high cover and a show of force for a coalition convoy traveling south. A JTAC confirmed the show of force was successful and no enemy attacks were reported.

Also near Mogholabad, other U.S. Navy F/A-18s provided a show of force for a coalition ground forces position. The F/A-18s also provided area reconnaissance for suspicious activity near a highway bridge. Show of force was described by a JTAC as successful.

Navy F/A-18s provided aerial reconnaissance for a suspected mortar and rocket propelled grenade attack position in a compound near Sangin. The F/A-18s also provided a show of force, expending multiple flares, near a mosque where coalition forces were under imminent threat of attack. A JTAC confirmed the show of force was successful and no enemy attacks were reported.

In total, 51 close-air-support missions were flown in support of Afghan and International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, troops, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Nine Air Force and Royal Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance 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.

In Iraq, Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons responded to support coalition forces and also worked counter-IED and counter-mortar missions near Baghdad.

Also near Baghdad, Royal Air Force GR-4 Tornados responded to a coalition vehicle that came under small-arms fire and provided overwatch until coalition forces declared the situation over. The GR-4s proceeded with close-air support to look at several contingency operating bases in the area. They reported a road block at an intersection with suspicious activity and a vehicle in the middle of the carriageway.

A JTAC reported that a coalition vehicle received small-arms fire. RAF GR-4s were assigned to search for suspicious activity in a palm grove area to the south and in the road near a canal. They did not identify any activity in the area, but reported a large group of individuals and several trucks. They continued to monitor the situation and reported an obstruction on the road in the vicinity of Basrah.

A JTAC reported that one man was down and coalition forces were waiting extraction by a helicopter. The GR-4s were assigned an overwatch position of a helicopter landing site for casualty extraction. The GR-4 pilots reported that the helicopter landed safely.

Near Baghdad, Air Force F-16s performed a show of force, releasing multiple flares, for coalition ground units receiving small-arms fire from enemies across a river. The show of force was reported by a JTAC as successful and may have prevented further engagement from the enemy.

Other Air Force F-16s provided counter-mortar and IED surveillance near Al Fathah. The F-16s also provided overwatch for a raid and reported a truck pulling away to the south as coalition forces approached from the north. The F-16 pilots then reported the coordinates of a house where the truck stopped, for further investigation by ground coalition forces.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 48 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, 15 Air Force, Navy, RAF and Royal Australian Air Force ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. An Air Force fighter aircraft also 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 130 airlift sorties were flown; about 355 tons of cargo were delivered, and approximately 2,795 passengers were transported.

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

On March 10, Air Force, RAF and French tankers flew 36 sorties and off-loaded more than 2.4 million pounds of fuel which is the equivalent of 60 full Air Force fuel trucks.

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