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May 19 airpower: Tankers provide key air bridge

5/20/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- Coalition airpower supported coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in the following operations May 19, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, Navy F/A-18C Hornets dropped guided bomb unit-38s on insurgent targets in Shurakian. The joint terminal attack controller, or JTAC, confirmed the bombs impacted their targets.

JTACs are highly trained 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.

Other F-18s dropped GBU-38s on insurgents in Oruzgan. The JTAC reported the drops as successful.

Over Ghazni, F-18s dropped multiple GBU-12s and a GBU-38 on insurgent buildings after coalition forces received small-arms fire. The JTAC reported no more gunfire after the bombs impacted the buildings.

An MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle supporting the F-18s in Ghazni fired an AGM-114 Hellfire missile at insurgents fleeing the area previously fired upon by other coalition aircraft. The missile impacted its intended target.

F-18s dropped a GBU-38 and performed successful shows of force with flares in support of coalition ground forces in Gereshk.

An Air Force B-1B Lancer performed multiple shows of presence over coalition routes near Gorestani Nawer. No incidents were reported while the bomber was in the area.

A Royal Air Force GR-7 Harrier monitored ground forces raiding a building near Gereshk. The pilots also watched for possible improvised explosive device placement in the area.

Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles monitored suspected enemy personnel near Ghazni and Garmsir.

In total, 64 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Ten Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Afghanistan. Additionally, two Navy aircraft provided tactical reconnaissance.

In Iraq, a B-1 dropped GBU-38s on a building used to manufacture IEDs in Baghdad. A JTAC observing the attack reported the drop as successful. After the strike, the bomber continued to show force over the area for coalition forces hit by an IED.

Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons provided armed overwatch for ground forces after a Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle was hit by an IED near Baghdad. Afterward, the jet followed a suspicious vehicle and passed on the information to the JTAC in the area.

An F-16 released a GBU-12 on a truck leaving a weapons cache near Fallujah. The JTAC confirmed the bomb hit its target.

In Al Musayyib, other F-16s searched for insurgents suspected of attacking coalition forces. The pilots monitored personnel near the attack site and other IED locations and passed the information to the JTAC.

Royal Air Force GR-4 Tornados provided shows of force to assist a medical evacuation in Muqdadiyah. The Tornados also searched for snipers and provided overwatch for coalition forces.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 47 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.

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

Air Force C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intra-theater heavy airlift support, helping to sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa.

Approximately 156 airlift sorties were flown; more than 435 tons of cargo were delivered, and approximately 2,745 passengers were transported. This included approximately 21,010 pounds of troop re-supply air-dropped in Afghanistan.

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

On May 18, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force, French Air Force and Republic of Singapore Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 48 sorties and off-loaded approximately 2.9 million pounds of fuel to 234 receiving aircraft.

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