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Airpower Summary for November 4: Airdrop, Airdrop, Airdrop!

AFGHANISTAN - An Air Force loadmaster secures the ramp of a C-130 Hercules after dropping critical supplies to replenish Coalition ground forces.  Airdrops provide re-supply to forward operating locations in Afghanistan supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.  (Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Andy Huneycutt)

AFGHANISTAN - An Air Force loadmaster secures the ramp of a C-130 Hercules after dropping critical supplies to replenish Coalition ground forces. Airdrops provide re-supply to forward operating locations in Afghanistan supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. (Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Andy Huneycutt)

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- How do Coalition ground forces keep the enemy on the run in Afghanistan's mountainous terrain where roads are extremely limited (or simply don't exist) and still manage to get much needed supplies?

Airdrop! Airdrop! Airdrop!

For six days, from Oct. 25 to Nov. 1, the U.S. Air Force achieved more than a 99% recovery rate for airdropped supplies in Afghanistan. This equates to more than 400,000 pounds of supplies being delivered to Coalition forces.

"This means an awful lot for the troops on the ground who are waiting for their food, water and ammo," said Brig. Gen. Alfred Stewart, Director of Mobility Forces at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center in Southwest Asia.

"Our ground forces are comfortable going well beyond their supply lines because they know the Air Force will get their supplies to them. They're there and the mighty Herc (C-130 Hercules) comes over the ridgeline to deliver the food and ammo. They can keep chasing the enemy and know the supplies will always be there."

The high success rate is a combination of factors:

* The Joint Precision Airdrop System and the Improved Container Delivery System, or I-CDS (first used in combat over Iraq on Feb. 16, 2007, delivering six 1,200-pound bundles.)
* Air Force Weather Agency weather models which crunch data from a four-dimensional wind model which is downloaded to a laptop to compute the aircraft's most accurate release point in the air
* Aerial-port Airmen who know the appropriate parachutes to use with different types of airdropped supplies
* Aircrew members who know the impact on the mission of the terrain, the drop zone size, weather and winds, and the threat levels for the area.


The Air Power summary for Nov. 4 is as follows:

Coalition airpower integrated with Coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in the following operations Nov. 4, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle conducted an air strike against an enemy compound with a Guided Bomb Unit-31 in Kajaki. The structure was used by enemy combatants to engage Coalition forces. The Joint Terminal Attack Controller confirmed the mission was successful.

During the same mission, flares were used during shows of force conducted by F-15Es to deter enemy activities in Kajaki and Bagram. The demonstration was declared as successful by the JTAC.

JTACs honed their skills in a training mission in Herat and Bagram by effectively communicating with F-15Es. Communication between ground and air components is vital to achieving the desired objective. For the training mission, the F-15Es conducted shows of force directed by the JTACs.

In support of Coalition forces, French Mirage 2000s performed shows of force to deter enemy activities in Worzhanah Kalay. The JTAC confirmed the mission as successful.

In total, 26 close air support missions were flown in support of the International Security Assistance Force and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Twelve Air Force and Royal Air Force Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, during an armed overwatch in support of a Coalition convoy, a show of force with the use of flares was performed by an Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon in Al Kut. The mission was declared successful by the JTAC.

Navy F-18C Hornets were directed by a JTAC to conducted air strikes against enemy targets with GBU-38s in Baghdad. The mission was reported as successful by the JTAC.

During the same mission an F-18C performed a show of force with the use of flared while supporting Coalition forces in Baghdad. The JTAC confirmed the mission as 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 over watch for reconstruction activities and helped to deter and disrupt terrorist activities.

Twenty-three Air Force and Navy Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. Additionally, seven Air Force, Navy, and Royal Air Force aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

U.S. Air Force C-130s and C-17s provided intra-theater heavy airlift support, helping to sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa.

Approximately 164 airlift sorties were flown; 444 tons of cargos were delivered, and 5,319 passengers were delivered by C-17s. This included approximately 49,500 pounds of troop re-supply air-dropped in Afghanistan.

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

On Nov. 3, U.S. Air Force, French, and Royal Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 44 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.2 million pounds of fuel to 243 receiving aircraft.