Securing the High Ground with Partners Published March 19, 2019 By U.S. Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar (AFNS) -- U.S. Air Forces Central Command published its January Airpower Summary March 7. The year 2019 began with airpower supporting joint coalition and partner forces fighting violent extremist groups in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. In Afghanistan, the air component continued support to the NATO Resolute Support mission by developing the Afghan Air Force and applied military pressure to drive political settlement with the Taliban. In Iraq and Syria, airpower bolstered united international efforts against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to prevent its ability to recruit, train, equip, finance, plan, inspire and conduct violent extremist acts, regionally and globally. The remainder of the terror group’s physical territory is contained to a small area in the Middle Euphrates River Valley. In the first month of the year, the air component worked by, with, and through partner forces to deliver strategic effects across AFCENT operations. Whether delivering precision strike capabilities, battlespace awareness, or supplies to troops on the ground, Airmen and their allies and partners secured the high ground. “We leverage the professional expertise of our Airmen to strive for ever-increasing interoperability with our joint coalition partners across the region,” said Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, combined forces air component commander. “That is how we prevail in conflict, bolster defenses and increase deterrent credibility.” The statistics are listed on the Combined Forces Air Component Airpower Statistics page. Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan During January, combined forces air component commander assigned aircraft flew 670 strike sorties and released 463 weapons in Afghanistan. Airpower remained responsive to ground-force requests across the country in support of the Afghan National Defense and security forces despite poor weather throughout the month. Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew 1,491 sorties providing battlespace awareness to joint coalition forces targeting terrorists. As part of combat support operations, C-130s and C-17s flew 889 sorties transporting 13,104 personnel, 5,058 short tons of cargo and performing three airdrops. KC-135 and KC-10 tankers extended aircraft reach and loiter time with 13 million pounds of fuel delivered through 1,719 aerial refuelings. Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria The air component continued supporting joint coalition ground forces’ ISIS clearance operations in the Middle Euphrates Valley as part of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve. ISIS-controlled territory is reduced to less than one percent of what the terrorist group previously held. Meticulous, deliberate targeting and strike processes remain to minimize effects on civilian populations and infrastructure while pursuing the enduring defeat of ISIS. Crucial to these efforts, ISR aircraft informed current and future operations in January with 943 sorties gathering information with manned and remotely piloted aircraft. During the month, 1,390 strike sorties released 2,005 weapons assisting partner forces liberating ISIS-held towns, destroying weapons caches and hiding places while removing ISIS terrorists from the battlefield. Tanker aircraft extended the range and loiter time of 5,178 Joint coalition aircraft receivers with 58 million pounds of fuel over 778 sorties in January. C-130 and C-17 airlifters conducted 608 inter and intra-theater movement and resupply sorties, delivering 2,732 short tons of cargo throughout Iraq and Syria. Additionally, they transported 6,435 passengers and delivered 125,560 pounds of airdropped supplies.