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March 22 airpower: Weapons loaders put bite into fight

3/22/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials have released the airpower summary for March 22.

In Afghanistan March 21, an Air Force B-1B Lancer dropped guided bomb unit-31s and GBU-38s on enemy forces in a treeline, an enemy compound, four separate buildings and a cave entrance near Sangin. A joint terminal attack controller on-scene confirmed successful hits for all targets.

Another B-1B provided a show of force, releasing multiple flares, for a coalition convoy stuck in the mud near Farah. No attacks were reported after the show of force.

Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles provided shows of force, releasing multiple flares, for a coalition convoy as it neared a compound close to Kabul. No attacks were reported after the show of force.

Other Air Force F-15Es provided a show of force, releasing multiple flares, 3,000 feet south of coalition forces near Tarin Kowt. A JTAC reported the show of force was successful.

U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets provided overhead presence and security for coaltion forces in contact with enemies near Farah. The F/A-18s then provided shows of force, releasing flares, in the same area. A JTAC confirmed good effects.

Royal Air Force GR-7 Harriers responded to coalition forces who were pinned down from heavy enemy fire coming from a hillside. The GR-7s dropped 540-pound bombs and enhanced Paveway II munitions and fired rockets onto the hillside. The weapons were reported to hit the target area and the engagement ended.

One of two RAF GR-7s dropped an enhanced Paveway II munition on an enemy building near Kajaki Dam. An on-scene JTAC reported the building was destroyed.

In total, 54 close-air-support missions were flown in support of International Security Assistance Force and Afghan troops, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Seven 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, Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons dropped GBU-12s and GBU-38s on enemy buildings near Baghdad. Before the strike, coalition forces found large caliber ammunition and explosive manufacturing materials including numerous 50-gallon barrels of explosive material inside the buildings. At least four large secondary explosions were noted after the initial bomb was dropped on the target, indicating the destruction of the explosive material within and beneath the structure. A careful analysis was conducted prior to the strike, and every possible precaution was taken to avoid unnecessary collateral damage. No coalition Forces or civilians were injured during the operation.

Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs conducted aerial reconnaissance of personnel digging along a pipeline near Bayji. The A-10 pilots watched them leave the area and tracked their vehicle to a compound where individuals loaded the vehicle with unidentified items. All significant information was passed to a JTAC as the A-10s left the area.

Other Air Force A-10s provided aerial reconnaissance when coalition forces received small-arms fire near Baghdad. The A-10s continued observing while coalition forces performed cordon and search operations in the same area.

Also near Baghdad, Air Force F-16s provided overwatch for coalition troops raiding a weapons cache and followed a vehicle from the weapons cache.

Other Air Force F-16s conducted a counter-improvised explosive device mission near Balad. The F-16 pilots reported their observations to ground forces.

Near Baghdad, Navy F/A-18s conducted aerial reconnaissance along multiple routes for possible IED activity. The F/A-18s then provided a show of force, releasing multiple flares, to disperse a gathering of approximately 300 personnel.  A JTAC confirmed the show of force had a very good effect.

One of two U.S. Navy F/A-18s fired an air-to-surface missile at an abandoned sedan suspected of carrying weapons near Fallujah. A JTAC confirmed the vehicle was destroyed.

Other Navy F/A-18s provided shows of force for a tribal leader negotiation during a cordon and search operation near Ramadi. The shows of force were reported as successful.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 64 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 and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. Navy fighter aircraft performed in non-traditional ISR roles with their 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 145 airlift sorties were flown; over 450 tons of cargo were delivered, and approximately 3,285 passengers were transported.

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

On March 20, Air Force, RAF and French tankers flew 43 sorties and off-loaded more than 3 million pounds of fuel which is the equivalent of more than 75 full Air Force fuel trucks.

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