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March 24 airpower: C-17s transport 3,000 passengers, 430 tons of cargo

3/24/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials have released the airpower summary for March 24.

In Afghanistan March 23,  Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles conducted reconnaissance for coalition forces receiving mortar fire from a known enemy firing position near Sangin.

A joint terminal attack controller confirmed the target and enemy activity and an F-15E dropped a guided bomb unit -38.

The F-15E pilots then reported a buried concealed weapons' hiding spot within meters of the GBU-38 drop. The JTAC requested F-15Es to release a GBU-12 on the target. A JTAC ground controller requested a follow up attack and the F-15Es released 20 mm cannon rounds. A weapon system video review by the aircrew confirmed good hits and that the weapon performed as desired.

Also near Sangin, U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets provided overhead presence and security for coalition forces taking enemy fire from a compound. The FA/18s dropped GBU-12s on the enemy firing location. A JTAC confirmed the weapons impacted the desired target.

Other Navy F/A -18s conducted close-air support expending 20 mm cannon rounds on enemy targets near Gereshk. The rounds impacted the desired target, according to a JTAC.

In total, 48 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the International Security Assistance Force and Afghan troops, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Nine Air Force and Royal Air Force surveillance and reconnaissance 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 released GBU-38s on pre-planned insurgent fighting positions near Ba'Qubah at the request of a JTAC. The target was hit. The F-16s also provided shows of force to support a coalition forces' raid on two buildings in the area. The shows of force dispersed a crowd that was gathering at the site of the raid and was reported successful. 

Also, Air Force B1-B Lancers supported the Air Force F-16s by dropping GBU-38s on the remaining insurgent fighting positions in the area. A JTAC confirmed four impacts from the B1-B bombs. After the synchronized F-16 and B1-B air strikes, coalition forces were waiting in staging areas to conduct assaults.

Other Air Force F-16s provided overwatch for an ongoing raid near Rutbah. During the raid a vehicle fled the area and the F-16s were cleared to engage the vehicle by a JTAC. The F-16s dropped a GBU-12 on the target.

In Baghdad, Air Force F-16s conducted shows of force for coalition forces receiving fire from a house in the area. A JTAC reported a lot of activity at the house and multiple individuals moving from the house to vehicles. The shows of force were reported successful. The F-16s also conducted counter improvised explosive device overwatch in support of a convoy.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 63 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, 16 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 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 165 airlift sorties, delivered over 430 tons of cargo, and transported approximately 3,035 passengers.

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

On March 21, Air Force, French and Royal Air Force crews flew 39 sorties and off-loaded more than 2.9 million pounds of fuel, which is the equivalent of more than 72 full Air Force Logistics Readiness fuel trucks.

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