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May 15 airpower summary: ISR critical to mission success

5/16/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- Coalition airpower supported coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan in the following operations May 15, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles dropped guided bomb unit-38s on insurgents and provided a show of force for coalition troops who had come under small-arms fire. The aircrews also provided escort for helicopters flying to their landing zone.

An Air Force B-1B Lancer dropped GBU-31s on a building occupied by insurgent fighters in Gereshk.  An on-scene joint terminal attack controller reported the drop a success. The B-1 also conducted a show of presence over a coalition route in the area.

JTACs are highly trained U.S. Air Force and coalition personnel who advise ground commanders on appropriate air power support, relay the ground commander's intent to air power assets overhead and communicate with aircrews for precision engagement.

U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornets dropped a GBU-38 on insurgents along a ridgeline near Qalat. The JTAC reported the drop as successful. The Hornets also provided overhead reconnaissance of suspicious activities in the area.

Also in Qalat, other F/A-18s dropped GBU-12s on a truck carrying IEDs. A coalition helicopter disabled the vehicle with Hellfire missiles. Then, F/A-18 pilots dropped the ordnance on the vehicle to ensure the IED materials would not be used later. A JTAC in the area called the drop a good hit.

Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs performed multiple shows of force over Qalat. No attacks were reported after the shows of force. The pilots also provided armed escort for a medical evacuation convoy.

Near Gereshk, other A-10s provided shows of force, launching flares for coalition personnel taking fire from insurgents. The pilots also provided cover for a convoy returning to their forward operating base.

F/A-18s investigated various locations around Afghanistan including Sangin and Ghazni. The pilots looked for insurgents and any suspicious activity.

In total, 59 close-air-support missions were flown in support of ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Eight Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Afghanistan. Additionally, four U.S. Navy aircraft provided tactical reconnaissance.

In Iraq, B-1s provided shows of force and presence, launching flares near Baquba. A JTAC reported the shows of force were successful. The B-1 aircrews also scanned for mortar positions and suspicious activities in the area.

Near Al Iskandariyah, Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons watched over coalition forces taking small-arms fire and a convoy struck by an improvised explosive device. The F-16 pilots also monitored vehicles moving ordnance in the area.

Another group of F-16s took over lookout and security for the convoy hit by an IED in Al Iskandariyah. The pilots circled the area watching for any activity.

Other F-16s watched over ground forces and performed reconnaissance in Al Hawijah, Tikrit, and Yusufiyah. Fighting Falcons were present during a raid and monitored areas for IEDs.

A-10s watched over Baghdad looking for suspicious activity and provided overwatch for a search team convoy.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 53 close air support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions supported coalition ground forces, protected key infrastructure, provided overwatch for reconstruction activities and helped to deter and disrupt terrorist activities.

Seventeen Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. Additionally, three Air Force and RAF fighter aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

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, more than 585 tons of cargo were delivered and approximately 3,445 passengers were transported. This included more than 11,470 pounds of troop re-supply air-dropped in Afghanistan.

Coalition C-130 crews from Australia, Canada, Iraq and Korea flew in support of operations in Afghanistan or Iraq.

On May 14, Air Force, RAF, French and Republic of Singapore tankers flew 51 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.1 million pounds of fuel to 272 receiving aircraft.

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