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March 15 airpower: Strike Eagles strike intimidation

3/15/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials have released the airpower summary for March 15.

In Afghanistan March 14, an Air Force B-1B Lancer dropped guided bomb unit-38s and GBU-31s on enemy buildings and fire positions near Sangin.  A joint terminal attack controller on-scene confirmed direct hits for all weapons. Also near Sangin, the B1-B crew observed the area where a coalition vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device.

Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles provided a show of force for a truck traveling near a compound being searched by coalition forces near the Afghanistan - Pakistan border. The F-15Es also provided overhead monitoring for coalition forces destroying a drug lab and storming a compound.

U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets dropped GBU-38s on a compound containing enemy mortars.  A JTAC confirmed weapons destroyed the building. The F/A-18s then conducted aerial reconnaissance for suspected enemy firing positions.

One of two other F/A-18s dropped a GBU-12 on an enemy firing position near Sangin. A JTAC confirmed the position was destroyed. The F/A-18 pilots then conducted aerial reconnaissance for several suspected enemy firing positions.

Also near Sangin, one of two other F/A-18s dropped a GBU-12 on an enemy vehicle. A JTAC confirmed a direct hit on the vehicle. The F/A-18 pilots also conducted aerial reconnaissance for mortar firing positions.

Another F/A-18 dropped a GBU-38 on a building containing an enemy insurgent near Qurya. An F/A-18 pilot had noticed the insurgent running from a rocket propelled grenade attack site near Qurya. A JTAC confirmed building was destroyed.

Royal Air Force GR-7 Harriers dropped enhanced Paveway II laser-guided bombs on an enemy firing position and a building used as an additional firing position near Now Zad. A JTAC confirmed the strikes were direct hits.

In total, 31 close-air-support missions were flown in support of Afghan and International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, troops, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Ten Air Force and RAF information, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, 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 conducted a counter-IED mission near Baqubah. The F-16 pilots observed three individuals picking up items and throwing them into the center of a road and digging in center of road. The F-16 pilots notified an on-scene JTAC of the suspicious activity.

Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs provided armed reconnaissance for a possible trigger man after an IED strike was reported on coalition forces near Baqubah. The A-10 crews searched for suspicious individuals on rooftops and in the area. Rocket-propelled grenades were reported coming from a building near coalition forces. The A-10s provided cover while coalition forces dismounted and cleared the buildings.

Also near Baqubah, other A-10s provided reconnaissance for a coalition convoy. The A-10 pilots observed a sedan and two individuals on the side of the road. The pilots reported individuals picking up or possible putting objects in the weeds.

Near Al Muqdadiyah, Air Force F-16s provided overwatch for a Bradley fighting vehicle hit by an IED and a convoy that was receiving small-arms fire. The F-16s were immediately reassigned to search for signs of IEDs along the route of the target area and to watch over coalition ground forces. 

RAF GR-4 Tornados provided overwatch for a coalition convoy near Baqubah. An improvised explosive device struck a coalition vehicle. The GR-4s conducted three shows of force in support of coalition forces' reaction to the attack. The show of force was reported successful and may have prevented further attacks.

The GR-4s then reported an explosion at the front of a civilian building. They conducted a show of force from at low-altitude and provided overwatch of the area until a JTAC advised they were no longer under fire.

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, 13 Air Force, Navy and RAF 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. About 145 airlift sorties were flown; more than 480 tons of cargo were delivered, and approximately 2,885 passengers were transported.

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

On March 13, Air Force, RAF and French tankers flew 40 sorties and off-loaded more than 2.9 million pounds of fuel which is the equivalent of more than 72 full Air Force fuel trucks. 

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