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May 28 airpower summary: Airlift reduces need for convoys

5/29/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- Coalition airpower supported coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan during operations May 28, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, a Royal Air Force GR-9 Harrier fired rockets at enemy personnel moving toward coalition forces near Garmsir. The pilots dropped an enhanced Paveway II munition on an insurgent hideout as well. The Harrier also dropped a 540-pound bomb on an enemy trench system in the area. All of the strikes were reported as successful by an on-scene joint terminal attack controller.

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.

Also in Garmsir, French M-2000 Mirages dropped guided bomb unit-12s on enemy targets and escorted a coalition convoy. Other Mirages provided a show of force with multiple flares in the area. The drops and shows of force were reported as successful.

Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles provided shows of force, releasing flares to help ground forces withdraw from an area in Gardez. The F-15Es stayed with the ground forces until they had reached a forward operating base. They experienced no attacks while the aircraft were escorting them.

An Air Force B-1B Lancer executed shows of force, releasing flares to support a medical evacuation in Asadabad. There were no attacks reported after the show of force. The Lancer also conducted a show of presence for a convoy on a coalition route in the area.

Another B-1 showed force with flares to break up a developing riot in Farah. The show of force was called successful. They also performed shows of presence over a highway in the area.

An Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II provided a show of force, launching flares over Orgun-E to deter enemy activity surrounding a convoy in the area. There were no reports of attacks after the show of force. The pilots stayed with the convoy until they reached their final location.

An F-15E provided a show of force over Kandahar to prevent any enemy activity while a convoy was stopped for vehicle repair.

In total, 41 close-air-support missions were flown in support of 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.

In Iraq, a U.S. Marine F-18 Hornet fired multiple cannon rounds at a vehicle with mortar capabilities near Karamah. The strafing was reported successful.

RAF GR-4 Tornados watched over coalition forces convoys struck by improvised explosive devices and small-arms fire near Taji and Baquba.

Also in Baquba, Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons dropped GBU-38s on a factory suspected of making suicide bombs. The bombs destroyed the building. F-16 pilots watched over a raid and looked for IEDs in the same area. Other F-16s supported ground units taking small-arms fire. The pilots monitored the insurgents who fled after firing on the ground forces.

Later in Baquba, F-16s began searching for a downed helicopter. A-10s picked up the search and provided overwatch of the crash site. U.S. Navy F-18 Super Hornets monitored the area as well. Air Force MQ-1Predators also monitored the crash scene.

An F-16 conducted a show of force, releasing flares over a convoy that had taken fire. The JTAC who requested the show of force witnessed the insurgents fleeing after the F-16 passed over.

In Salman Pak, an F-16 performed a show of force, firing flares for coalition forces taking small-arms fire. The JTAC in the area reported the show of force was successful.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 62 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.

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

Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intratheater heavy airlift support, helping to sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. Approximately 139 airlift sorties were flown; 820 tons of cargo was delivered, and approximately 2,280 passengers were transported. This included approximately 54,325 pounds of troop re-supply air-dropped in Afghanistan.

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

On May 27, Air Force, RAF and French aerial refueling crews flew 44 sorties and off-loaded approximately 2.9 million pounds of fuel to 212 receiving aircraft.

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