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March 20 airpower: Versatile A-10s support ground forces

3/20/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials have released the airpower summary for March 20.

In Afghanistan March 19, a B-1B Lancer dropped guided bomb unit-12s and GBU-38s on enemy-occupied buildings near Kajaki Dam. The strike came after coalition forces came under fire from enemy forces in the buildings. A joint terminal attack controller on-scene confirmed all the weapons hit the intended targets and enemy fire ceased after engagement.

Another B-1B dropped GBU-31s and GBU-38s on enemy buildings near Sangin. The B-1B also dropped a GBU-38 on a tree line from which coalition forces were receiving fire.  A JTAC confirmed the B-1B`s weapons were all direct hits.

U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets provided a show of force, releasing multiple flares, as requested from a JTAC near Sangin. The JTAC confirmed good effects.

U.S. Navy F/A-18s conducted aerial reconnaissance for a suspected mortar position near Now Zad. The F/A-18 pilots reported spotting multiple individuals on a ridge.

One of two Navy F/A-18s dropped a GBU-38 on enemies near Sangin. A JTAC confirmed the weapon hit the desired target. The F/A-18s also provided reconnaissance of compounds in the same area. Other F/A-18s looked for mortar firing points of origin and individuals in a compound also near Sangin.

Royal Air Force GR-7 Harriers dropped enhanced Paveway II munitions on an enemy building after a JTAC reported receiving heavy enemy fire from the building. The JTAC confirmed direct hits on the building.

In total, 45 close-air-support missions were flown in support of International Security Assistance Force 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. Navy fighter aircraft performed in non-traditional ISR roles with their electro-optical and infrared sensors.

In Iraq, A-10 Thunderbolt IIs provided reconnaissance to identify enemy locations and movement near Baghdad. The A-10s also conducted a counter improvised explosive device mission in the same area.

F-16 Fighting Falcons provided three shows of force to deter enemy attackers after a vehicle IED detonated and coalition forces were being fired upon near Bayji. The F-16s also conducted a counter-IED mission in the same area.

Other F-16s provided overwatch for coalition forces as they left a raid near Al Yusurifiya. The F-16 pilots also searched for possible enemy attack positions in the same area.

Near Hawija, an F-16 dropped a GBU-12 on insurgents placing an IED who attempted to hide next to a small footbridge across a canal. A JTAC confirmed the weapon hit the target.

Near, Baqubah, F-16s provided reconnaissance to look for IEDs along a road. The F-16s located and reported a possibly illegal check point.

At the request of a JTAC, the F-16s also watched over a coalition convoy receiving enemy fire after being struck by an IED. The F-16s searched along the road near the convoy for a possible triggerman and for anti Iraqi forces. The F-16s then provided overwatch of a house being raided by coalition forces. The F-16s continued to watch the house and the surrounding areas as the raid commenced.

Navy F/A-18s were assigned to overwatch an enemy compound near Baghdad while coalition forces conducted a raid. The F/A-18s provided continuous coverage of the enemy compound until a JTAC reported small-arms fire north of the compound and requested a show of force. The F/A-18s provided a show of force and a JTAC confirmed the show of force was successful.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 67 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 and RAF ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. Air Force and Navy fighter aircraft performed in non-traditional ISR roles with their electro-optical and infrared sensors.

C-130 Hercules aircraft and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intratheater heavy airlift support, helping sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. They flew more than 140 airlift sorties, delivered over 300 tons of cargo and transported 2,485 passengers.

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

On March 18, Air Force, RAF and French tankers  flew 41 sorties and off-loaded more than 2.6 million pounds of fuel, which is the equivalent of more than 65 full Air Force fuel trucks. 

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