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April 9 airpower: Predator strikes insurgents

4/9/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials released the following airpower summary April 9:

In Afghanistan April 8, an Air Force MQ-1Predator fired a Hellfire missile at a vehicle with insurgents gathered around it. The airstrike was reported as a direct hit and multiple secondary explosions were observed possibly indicating a weapons cache had also been taken out.

An Air Force B-1B Lancer dropped guided bomb unit-38s on insurgents firing upon a coalition forces observation post near Shkin. The weapons directly hit their target and ended the engagement, according to a joint terminal attack controller aligned with the coalition ground forces.

Another B-1B dropped GBU-31s on insurgent mortar launch positions near Kajaki Dam. A JTAC confirmed the weapons were direct hits. The pilots also performed shows of presence and reconnaissance in support of coalition ground forces in the area.

Near Trigari, at the request of a coalition ground commander, a B-1B provided shows of force, expending multiple flares, in support of Afghan police. The local police were engaged with insurgents who were firing on Afghan civilians and an Afghan governor. Time in between shows of force allowed the civilians to be cleared from the area. A JTAC reported that the Afghan governor and chief of police were "very happy" with the shows of force as it ended the engagement.

Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles provided a show of force for coalition forces receiving small-arms fire from insurgents in a tree line near Sangin. A JTAC reported that the F-15Es' presence immediately stopped enemy fire.

A French navy Super Etendard dropped a GBU-12 on an insurgent vehicle near Sangin. A JTAC reported the weapon successfully hit the target area.

Other Super Etendards dropped 250-pound bombs on insurgent vehicles near Sangin. The pilots did a battle damage assessment and reported one vehicle was destroyed.

In total, 31 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the International Security Assistance Force and Afghan troops, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

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

In Iraq, Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons fired cannon rounds at insurgents near Samarra on the east side of the Tigris River, in support of the coalition ground force commander's objective. A JTAC confirmed the cannon rounds were on target.

Other F-16s provided overwatch of a coalition raid near Al Mahmudiyah. The pilots also supported the coalition ground units by searching their exit route for possible threats.

Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs tracked possible improvised explosive device placers near Balad Air Force Base and passed significant information to a JTAC aligned with the coalition ground commander. The pilots also searched for possible IEDs and mortar positions along a nearby route.

Near Samarra, F-16s provided overwatch for coalition forces placing barriers. The pilots also provided support for a nearby raid being executed by coalition ground forces and searched for possible IEDs along multiple routes in the area.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 64 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, 19 Air Force, Navy and Royal Air Force ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. Additionally, an Air Force fighter aircraft performed in a non-traditional ISR role with electro-optical and infrared sensors.

U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intra-theater heavy airlift support, helping to sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. Approximately 160 airlift sorties were flown; nearly 390 tons of cargo were delivered, and more than 2,570 passengers were transported.

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

On April 7, Air Force, RAF and French aerial refueling crews flew 45 sorties and off-loaded more than 3 million pounds of fuel.

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