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March 23 airpower: Transports key to intra-theater airlift

3/23/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials have released the airpower summary for March 23. 

In Afghanistan March 22, an Air Force B-1B Lancer dropped guided bomb unit-31s and GBU-38s on several enemy buildings near Sangin. Coalition forces were taking fire from insurgents in the buildings. One of the buildings was a suspected Taliban commander's house. A joint terminal attack controller on-scene observed successful impacts on all targets.

Another B-1B provided a show of force, releasing multiple flares, for coalition forces in contact with insurgents near Gardez.  A JTAC reported the show of force was successful.

Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles provided shows of force, releasing multiple flares, for coalition forces in several areas near Gereshk. No attacks were reported after the shows of force. The F-15Es also provided reconnaissance for suspicious activity at a village and surrounding ridgelines near Gereshk.

U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets dropped leaflets over Surkhabad. The F/A-18 pilots on the mission confirmed the leaflets were successfully dispensed.

Another F/A-18 dropped a GBU-12 on an enemy building as requested by a JTAC near Sangin. The JTAC confirmed the weapon hit the desired target.

Also near Sangin, other U.S. Navy F/A-18s conducted reconnaissance of several compounds.

Near Delaram, F/A-18s provided overwatch for a coalition convoy. No attacks were reported on convoy. The F/A-18s then provided a show of force over a coalition position in the same area. A JTAC reported it to be successful.

In total, 43 close-air-support missions were flown in support of International Security Assistance Force and Afghan troops, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Eight Air Force and Royal Air Force intelligence, 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 overwatch for coalition forces receiving sniper fire. The F-16s then escorted the coalition forces out of the area of danger. The F-16 pilots also searched for the triggerman of a improvised explosive device that struck a coalition vehicle in the same area.

Other F-16s provided a show of force to disperse a crowd of more than 30 people around an area coalition forces were about to infiltrate near Samarra. A JTAC confirmed it to be successful and the crowd dispersed.

U.S. Navy F/A-18s fired cannon rounds at two individuals witnessed placing an IED near Bayji. One attempted to flee and the other surrendered to ground forces. A JTAC confirmed good effects as coalition forces closed in on the location.

Other F/A-18s conducted reconnaissance for suspicious activity near a coalition convoy, mosque and two houses with suspected weapons caches near Baghdad. The F/A-18 pilots reported all significant findings.

Near Basrah, F/A-18s provided a show of force for a governor's mansion under enemy fire. A JTAC confirmed it to be a success. Other F/A-18s reported possible snipers on a rooftop near Baghdad. 

RAF GR-4 Tornados provided reconnaissance near Al Yusufiyah. The GR-4 pilots identified a possible IED crater and debris on a road. The GR-4 pilots also reported two individuals on a rooftop and two others digging at the base of a palm tree in the same area.

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, 11 Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. U.S. 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 130 airlift sorties were flown; more than 380 tons of cargo were delivered, and approximately 2,625 passengers were transported.

Coalition C-130 crews from Iraq flew in support of OIF or OEF.

On March 20, Air Force, RAF and French tankers flew 46 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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