June airpower highlights: Afghan ceasefire, op roundup in Iraq and Syria

by U.S. Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs

Loadmasters and aircrew assigned to the 746th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, observe pre-mission preparations on a C-130H Hercules June 3. The C-130H crew conducted a supply airdrop over an undisclosed location in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve’s Operation Roundup. CJTF-OIR’s mission is to defeat ISIS in designated areas of Iraq and Syria and set conditions to increase regional stability. — Photo by Master Sgt. Burt Traynor

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar — U.S. Air Forces Central Command published its monthly Airpower Summary today, highlighting U.S. and coalition airpower operations in June 2018 in the USCENTCOM area of responsibility.

In Afghanistan, Airmen are involved in combat operations as part of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, while U.S. and NATO partners train, advise and assist the Afghan National and Defense Security Forces as part of the Resolute Support Mission.

U.S. and coalition Airmen continue fighting ISIS as part of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria, alongside partners including the Syrian Democratic Forces and Iraqi military forces.


The complete summary and statistics can be found here: http://www.afcent.af.mil/Portals/82/Documents/Airpower%20summary/Airpower%20Summary%20-%20June%202018%20(Final).pdf?ver=2018-07-20-043745-390


Operations in Afghanistan

In Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan, U.S. forces recognized the historic Afghan government ceasefire June 12-29, in order to emphasize reconciliation and peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban.

“As we demonstrated by supporting the historic ceasefire in June, the U.S. will continue to support the search for an end to the conflict in Afghanistan,” said Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, Combined Forces Air Component Commander for U.S. Central Command.

Strikes resumed against Taliban irreconcilables June 30.

“Until the Taliban show they’re willing to reconcile with the Afghan government, they will remain square in our crosshairs,” said Harrigian. “We remain steadfast in our resolve to take Taliban fighters off the battlefield and decimate their revenue sources.”

Meanwhile, U.S. air mobility operations marked its third consecutive month of airdropping more than 100,000 pounds. The C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules airdropped 126,000 pounds of supplies to U.S. and Afghan ground forces.

In support of the NATO Resolute Support Mission, coalition Train, Advise, and Assist Command-Air advisors continue to provide support to the Afghan Air Force. On June 1, C-208 air crews needed only six hours from mission tasking to execution to conduct their first emergency combat airdrop mission bringing ammunition to Afghan National Police and citizens fighting the Taliban in Badakshan Province. Then on June 18, C-208 air crews delivered 900 pounds of supplies via airdrop to Afghan commandos fighting in Faryab Province.


Operations in Iraq, Syria

In Operation Inherent Resolve, U.S. and coalition strike missions, defensive counter air and armed over-watch sorties continued to accelerate the defeat of ISIS last month.

Coalition strike aircraft flew 1,335 sorties releasing 356 weapons from manned and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIS targets.

“While we continue to strike ISIS fighters and positions, we remain focused on protecting ground forces from above,” said Harrigian. “Our coalition and ground forces have made tremendous strides against ISIS during Operation Roundup, thanks in part to our shaping operations against ISIS and the confidence our ground forces have that we’ll be overhead.”

Air mobility operations played a key role, dropping 170,960 pounds of equipment and supplies to ground forces operating in Iraq. Additionally, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew 545 sorties to develop targets and maintain battlespace awareness, and tankers flew 758 sorties to extend the range of aircraft and the duration of their missions.

Meanwhile, the Coalition Aviation Advisory Training Team has sustained support to the Iraqi Aviation Enterprise.

“Iraqi Airmen are making impressive strides in combat operations and in professionalizing their air force with the assistance of our CAATT,” said Harrigian. “The coalition team is fully committed to continued support of the Iraqi Aviation Enterprise and will work alongside our Iraqi partners to make their air forces more capable, professional, affordable and sustainable.”