HomeNewsArticle Display

'Shock air forces' hit Iraq

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (AFPN) -- Coalition "shock air forces" aircraft flew nearly 1,000 strike sorties March 21, hitting targets intended to end the regime of Saddam Hussein. The strikes marked the beginning of the air campaign portion of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

During his first press conference since combat operations began, Gen. Tommy Franks, U.S. Central Command commander, spoke about the coalition "shock air forces" which flew nearly 2,000 sorties. Coalition airpower operations began a few minutes before 9 p.m. local time March 21.

For the first time in combat, only precision-guided munitions were used in an effort to minimize collateral damage while targeting a large number of military sites, according to defense officials. During Desert Storm, less than 10 percent of the munitions used were precision guided.

U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers, B-2A Spirits, B-52H Stratofortresses, F-117 Nighthawkss, F-15E Strike Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons, plus Navy F/A-18 Hornets and F-14 Tomcat, Marine AV-8B Harrier and coalition Tornado GR-4, Harrier GR-7 and F/A-18 aircraft flew the strike missions.

Hundreds of Tomahawk land-attack missiles from coalition ships and conventional air-launched cruise missiles were also used in the strikes.

Targets included Iraqi regime leadership, regime command and control, regime security, integrated air defense systems and weapons of mass destruction.

The remaining sorties included intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; close-air support; electronic jamming; air refueling; intra- and inter-theater airlift; search and rescue; and interdiction.

Sorties were vital to the success of the strike sorties flying into the heart of Iraq's heavy air defenses, which included anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air-missiles, officials said.

Sorties originated from as far away as Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., the Indian Ocean, and the United Kingdom, as well as being flown from 30 locations throughout the CENTCOM area of responsibility and five Navy aircraft carriers. The B-2s flew the longest missions, lasting approximately 34 hours round-trip.

All coalition air missions are planned and controlled by the Combined Air Operations Center at an air base in Southwest Asia. The center functions as the brain for the entire coalition air campaign. CAOC officials plan, monitor and directs everything that goes into the air campaign, from picking the targets and determining what aircraft and munitions will be used to overcoming Iraqi air defenses and coordinating the flying routes of hundreds of aircraft at any given time.

Nearly 1,700 coalition aircraft and thousands of people are required to fly, maintain and support the missions directed by the CAOC.

Engage

Twitter
RT @DefenseOne: JOIN US TODAY @ 2 P.M. ET when our “State of Defense” series continues with a live interview featuring U.S. Air Force Chief…
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Teaching service members how to effectively shoot weapons. That’s the job of Combat Arms Training and Management. Watch…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Team - 25 years ago today, we lost 24 U.S. & Canadian Airmen in the Yukla 27 crash. It was a surveillance training so…
Twitter
Taking care of Airmen and their families! https://t.co/AVeidzDPcV
Twitter
Wherever Airmen go, the Federal Voting Assistance Program ensures their voice is heard. @FVAP works to ensure servi… https://t.co/tkJts1yo3Z
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: For #HispanicHeritageMonth, we're celebrating the stories of Hispanic & Latino Airmen! @188thWG SSgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez…
Twitter
#TotalForce Airmen participate in night operations during a base-wide, total force exercise @HAFB. Airmen & pilots… https://t.co/kJYNKwHY7n
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: California fires/smoke no match for UTA Airmen - https://t.co/pJysQ6snRh (Story by the @940Wing) #ReserveReady #ReserveRes
Twitter
Whistleblowers are NOT insider threats. Learn the difference and how you can appropriately report questionable gove… https://t.co/AaTvBfHcTv
Twitter
SrA Denise Arabie, 319th Operations Support Squadron radar approach controller @319thRW, describes the importance o… https://t.co/zkwMx6Qw3i
Twitter
RT @173rdFW: "I may have lost everything, but thanks to the support we’ve found here, I’m going to be back on my feet inside of a few weeks…
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr & @cmsaf_official sat down and discussed how the Air Force will continue exempting Airmen from PT t… https://t.co/bWVig9fSOW
Twitter
SrA Mark Gonzalez describes how his job enables the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber to support the Bomber Task Force depl… https://t.co/sceKCtM3Pz
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Our Airmen come from all walks of life — and we are stronger for it. Staff Sgt. Kalinin, 56th Force Support Squadron ALS…
Twitter
“It's critical to have that diversity in the Air Force that we have today because it is truly through that diversit… https://t.co/RIDQDjdlCr
Twitter
F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron @EielsonAirForce takeoff in support of exercise Valia… https://t.co/cf0raGgEUD
Twitter
RT @USAF_ACC: "This test, and others like it, can shape the future of the MQ-9, as we continue to increase its relevance in great power com…
Twitter
"We cannot rest on our laurels. It is all about the people, folks, and they will guarantee our readiness, and are f… https://t.co/BsNDUSw0wE
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: USAFCENT Airmen and coalition partners are executing missions of national, regional and global importance and Exercise Desert…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,281,142
Follow Us