AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --
AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar – U.S. Air Forces Central Command published its December Airpower Summary today. The month culminated a year of coalition air and space power in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
“Throughout the last year, the air component has supported multiple on-going campaigns, deterred aggression, maintained security, and defended our networks,” said Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, Combined Forces Air Component Commander. “We’ve orchestrated coalition airpower to destroy the ISIS caliphate, support Iraq, and enabled significant progress in Afghanistan.”
From response strikes on Syrian chemical weapons production facilities to the relentless hunting of the Islamic State Khorasan in Afghanistan; the transportation of over 120,000 personnel and 266 million pounds of equipment; the protection of AOR ground forces; and the work done with partner nations, the air component concluded a year of vital contributions to the stability of the region and deterring state and non-state actors.
In 2018, that strength was shown through 24,252 manned strike aircraft sorties in support of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Between the two operations, manned and Remotely Piloted Aircraft strike assets under CFACC control, released over 16,000 weapons.
Enabling many of these sorties were 71,275 aerial refuelings, which offloaded 809 million pounds of fuel and extended aircraft loiter time and range. Meanwhile, 21,233 airlift and airdrop sorties moved personnel and equipment and analysis of 20,498 ISR sorties provided battlespace awareness and target development throughout the AOR.
“Every time we employ ordnance in a close air support mission, or provide inter-theater airlift or aerial refueling for current operations, we remind our adversaries of the tremendous capabilities we bring as a part of the Joint Coalition fight,” said Guastella.
The airpower summary is online at the following link: Dec. 31, 2018
Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan
In support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for ISIS-K, al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, aircraft assigned to the CFACC flew 905 strike sorties and released 539 weapons in December. The missions assisted Afghan National Defense and Security Forces operations in applying military pressure in coordination with the international community’s effort to set conditions for a political solution in Afghanistan.
Facilitating the movement of assets and resupply throughout the country, airlifters flew 912 sorties and executed three airdrops during the month, transporting 5,501 short tons of cargo and 7,955 personnel. KC-135 and KC-10 tankers offloaded 20 million pounds of fuel during 2,085 aircraft refuelings in support of operations.
ISR empowered operators and decision makers through target development, data collection and analysis from 1,462 sorties in the month.
Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria
For December, airpower continued support to Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve with precision air strikes and coordinated attacks destroying hundreds of ISIS fighters, facilities, logistics areas and financial centers with 1,435 strike sorties and 2,214 weapons released. The weight of effort remained in the Middle Euphrates River Valley where ISIS remnants have been decimated throughout the last year.
Tankers flew 721 sorties in December, providing 51 million pounds of fuel to 4,745 receivers, extending range and loiter time over Iraq and Syria. Manned and unmanned ISR aircraft continued data collection to inform operations with 6,863 sorties.
Finally, airlifters delivered 2,333 short tons of cargo and transported 4,118 passengers over the course of 523 sorties. December ended with 46,700 pounds of airdropped supplies from four missions, totaling 605,670 pounds for the year.