Feb. 19 airpower: close-air support missions

  • Published
U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials have released the airpower summary for Feb. 19.

In Afghanistan Feb. 18, 30 close-air support missions were flown in support of International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, and Afghan troops, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Ten U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Afghanistan. Additionally, U.S. Navy fighter aircraft performed in non-traditional ISR roles with their electro-optical and infrared sensors.

In Iraq, Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs conducted a strike against an enemy anti-aircraft weapon near Ad Dawr. An A-10 dropped a guided bomb unit-12 Joint Direct Attack Munition on the weapon, directly hitting it. After the weapon was destroyed, the A-10s provided reconnaissance until the coalition quick reaction force arrived.

The A-10 pilots also observed eight vehicles around a weapon storage facility near Ad Dawr. They saw individuals loading two vehicles with unknown objects that appeared to be coming from under a road. The pilots reported the activity before leaving the area.

Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons were assigned to search for seven vehicles traveling together near Tikrit. The F-16s were also assigned to provide reconnaissance for a coalition vehicle that struck an improvised explosive device. The coalition forces then came under small-arms fire from approximately 200 meters east of the location. Upon arrival of the F-16s to the location, the enemy fire had stopped and the pilots did not see anything suspicious in the area.

Other F-16s were assigned to search for enemy activity and provide over watch near Baghdad and Al Miqdadiah. An F-16 pilot noted approximately 12 personnel in an alley and reported them to the joint terminal attack controllers.

JTACs are highly trained U.S. Air Force 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.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 53 close-air-support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions included support to coalition troops, infrastructure protection, reconstruction activities and operations to deter and disrupt terrorist activities.

Additionally, 13 Air Force, Navy, Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. An Air Force fighter aircraft performed in a non-traditional ISR role using its electro-optical and infrared sensors.

Air Force C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intra-theater heavy airlift support, helping sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. Aircraft flew nearly 140 airlift sorties, delivering more than 530 tons of cargo and transporting close to 2,430 passengers.

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

On Feb. 17, U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force tankers flew 38 sorties and off-loaded more than 2.5 million pounds of fuel.