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March 31 airpower: Recon aircraft key to mission success

3/31/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials have released the airpower summary for March 31.

In Afghanistan, an Air Force B-1B Lancer dropped Guided Bomb Unit-31s on an insurgent compound and a GBU-38 on an enemy firing position near Garmsir. A Joint Terminal Attack Controller confirmed targets were directly hit.

Another B-1B provided a show of presence for coalition forces in contact with insurgents near Asmar and Orgun. A JTAC reported it as successful given no engagements were reported thereafter.

Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles dropped a GBU-38 on a building reported to contain a suspected underground hide-out in Sangin. A JTAC confirmed the weapons hit the desired location. One of the two F-15Es also dropped a GBU-12 on a disabled coalition truck, to prevent use by the enemy.

A Royal Air Force GR-7 Harrier dropped an Enhanced Paveway II munition on an insurgent compound near Garmsir. A JTAC confirmed a direct hit on the target.

In total, 33 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the International Security Assistance Force and Afghan troops, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Six Air Force and Royal Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, an Air Force MQ-1B Predator fired Hellfire missiles at enemy personnel fleeing from a raid near Samarra. Missile impacts were reported as successful.

Another MQ-1B fired a Hellfire missile at enemy personnel unloading weapons from a vehicle. Missile impact was reported as successful.

Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs provided a show of force, releasing multiple flares, to deter any potential attacks against innocent individuals walking to a local mosque near Baghdad. The A-10s also provided a show of force, again releasing multiple flares, to disperse anti-Iraqi forces who were firing on a coalition police station and compound. Both shows of force were reported as effective.

Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons provided armed overwatch for a planned raid on three houses near Samarra. The pilots also provided reconnaissance along multiple routes and the banks of the Tigris River. The pilots reported all significant findings for possible future action by ground commanders.

Other F-16s provided a show of force to flush out any insurgents during a cordon set-up and search effort near Samarra. The pilots also provided overwatch for a coalition convoy in the same area. No attacks were reported during or after the overwatch.

Near Tikrit, F-16s conducted a show of force to scare off individuals stealing oil from a pipeline. A JTAC confirmed it as successful in that the individuals left the area. 

Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets provided a show of force over a suspected enemy small arms position near Baghdad. The F/A-18s then provided overwatch of an ambulance in the same area.

Other F/A-18s reported approximately ten individuals loading objects into a sedan outside a complex and then driving to another location.

Royal Air Force GR-4 Tornados provided a show of force for a coalition convoy receiving small arms fire after a vehicle hit an improvised explosive device near Al Mumammad. The pilots provided overwatch until a medical evacuation helicopter arrived on scene and was airborne.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 62 close-air-support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions provided support to coalition ground forces, infrastructure protection, reconstruction activities and operations to deter and disrupt terrorist activities.

Additionally, 20 Air Force, Navy and RAF ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq.

Air Force C-130s and C-17s provided intra-theater heavy airlift support, helping to sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. Nearly 145 airlift sorties were flown; nearly 660 tons of cargo were delivered, and approximately 3,250 passengers were transported.

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

On March 29, Air Force, RAF and French air force crews flew 44 sorties and off-loaded more than 2.6 million pounds of fuel which is the equivalent of more than 65 full Air Force Logistics Readiness fuel trucks 

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