Wednesday, October 01, 2014

More Than 3800 Sorties

A few items from the Usual USAF Source about the current unpleasantness over Iraq and Syria...
Airpower in Action
—Amy McCullough
The US Air Force has conducted nearly three-quarters of the strikes conducted in Iraq and Syria and roughly half of the strikes in Syria so far, said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements on the Air Staff. USAF aircraft also have conducted 70 percent of the more than 3,800 sorties flown in the two countries; 95 percent of the nearly 1,300 tanker sorties, and more than 700 ISR sorties supporting the operation, Harrigian told reporters on Sept. 29. "We are part of an integrated coalition effort, and this broad coalition has been and will continue to be the cornerstone of the strategy against ISIL," said Harrigian. "From an airman's perspective, we have worked for years to develop relationships across the theater with our fellow airmen, much like our sister services have done. Training with them both in theater and in the states to allow us the flexibility to seamlessly integrate them into the operations that we've been executing."
F-22 Still Flying Over Syria
—Marc V. Schanz
The F-22 is still flying sorties over Syria, in addition to last week's strikes on targets in and around Aleppo, said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements. Giving the first detailed comments by a senior official on the fifth generation aircraft's mission in the Middle East, Harrigian—a veteran F-15 and F-22 pilot—said planners examined both the threat environment and the mission tasks on the first night of the campaign and decided the F-22 needed to be part of the package in order to deliver the "desired effects." "They wanted to ensure that they used the right capabilities in the right location," Harrigian told reporters on Sept. 29. The F-22 has both speed and stealth, but it also has an integrated avionics package, which greatly improves situational awareness, not just for the pilot, but for the "entire [strike package] that's going to execute the mission." Harrigian said the Raptor continues to fly over Syria, though he noted the aircraft have not dropped munitions on every mission. Planners are taking a look at the "specifics of each mission and determining if they need them or not," Harrigian said, depending on targets, where they are located, and what the "environment" is like.
And this... 
Mabus: Naval Aircraft Flying One Quarter of ISIS Mission
—Otto Kreisher
The Navy and Marine Corps have provided about one-fourth of the airstrikes against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria since the new campaign started last week, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Sept. 30. Most of the Navy strike missions, flown primarily off the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush operating in the Persian Gulf, were at the beginning of the campaign, "because we were there and could begin instantly when the President gave the order," Mabus told reporters during a breakfast meeting in Washington, D.C. Now the Air Force is flying more, but Navy aircraft are flying some ISR missions, he added. Some Marine AV-8Bs have flown strike missions into Iraq from the amphibious assault ship the USS Bataan, which also is in the Persian Gulf. Navy warships in the Red Sea and the Gulf also fired 47 Tomahawk cruise missiles in the opening attacks on ISIS in Syria. The additional cost to the Navy so far has been about $100 million, primarily for the weapons expended, Mabus said. The Navy can sustain its current operations against ISIS "for as long as it is needed," he said. The USS Carl Vinson is on its way to replace the Bush, Mabus noted.
This campaign against ISIS/ISIL is beginning to be a rather expensive proposition.  One wonders just how many sorties have been flown by the coalition... specifically our Arab allies... that Obama seems so proud of.  Information on THAT subject is pretty damned hard to find.  

Apropos of the Mabus blurb... My Ol' Man used to refer to the AF's sister services... meaning the Navy, Marines, and Army... as "our allies, most of the time."  Me?  I prefer the more traditional "squids," "jarheads," and "ground-pounders."  (Said the Zoomie.)


  1. What I really like are all the variations for Zoomy at the Urban Dictionary.

  2. LOL, good ones. The only problem is the Navy doesn't have the budget to replace the TLAMs... And haven't received any extra funds (nor has any other service) to provide for this little war...

    1. There have been a number of pieces in the media about how much this adventure is gonna cost and where the funding will come from. Right now, as I understand it, funding is coming from the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account but that's gonna have to change given the nature of the effort and the cost. Or the OCO will have to be augmented... one or the other or perhaps something totally different.

  3. Defining down. You know, when you take the PREMIER stealth fighter and ONLY apply it against an enemy with no radar, no fire control, no integrated air defense systems and no chance of shooting it down, you have what happened when the Serbs shot down an F-117. That's going to be so humiliating when it happens this time and I'll be honest. If I was at the CAOC and had to listen to F22 purists promoting the thing and then suggesting that they only be used to attack targets where there was the lowest risk....because, national security.... I'd barf.

    1. And there's that "Golden BB" effect to be considered, too. I believe a Golden BB took down that F-117 over Serbia, right? But you're right: losing an F-22 to Syrian air defenses (which are pretty damned good, based upon what I've read) is going to be a hard, HARD blow... if or when it happens.

    2. The best way to shoot down aircraft is to put lead in the sky. Optical, IR, Radar are how one does it best. All of them are valid approaches. Only one single counter-fire method is every talked about and, in my humble, it's a bogus one. Consider the development of the contrast homing missiles. They lock on contrast.....those racist bastar#$! :)

    3. Heh on the racist bastards line. That's a good one.

    4. That's me, a Maverick. :)
      Think how hard it would be to home in on a piece of the sky that isn't like the other sky? It's what missiles do. It's what ground based air defense systems do. It really has very little to do with radar and radar stealth.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.