The Centre for Strategic and International Studies have produced their latest report trends in the US use of airpower in the Iraq and Afghan Wars during 2004-2007 by Anthony Cordesman. (OEF = Operation Enduring Freedom / OIF Operation Iraqi Freedom)(click to enlarge)
Airpower is clearly playing a dramatically increasing roles steadily more important role in ground attacks over time with increases recorded of over 70% .The data show a steady rise in air activity, with particularly sharp rises in the impact of bombing in Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan,e total number of close air support/precision strike sorties flown (i.e not B1 bombers etc.,) , that dropped a major munition rose from 86 in 2004, 176 in 2005, to 1,770 in 2006 ( a10-fold annual increase), and 2,926 in 2007 ( + 70% as of December 5th compared with 2006) remembering that these figures do not include 20 mm and 30 mm cannon attacks or rockets ruling out nearly all air-to-ground attacks by helicopter gunships like the Apache , armed with 30mm cannons and rockets. This would also rule out the AC-130 gunships that are armed with 20mm Gatling guns.
Here is a brief extract from the Air Force Link "Dec. 20 airpower summary" of recent bombing activity in Afghanistan ..
In Afghanistan, an Air Force B-1B Lancer dropped guided bomb unit-38s on enemy firing positions in the area of Garmsir. Coalition forces were engaged by enemy combatants. The on-scene joint terminal attack controller (JTAC)reported the strike was successful.On the same date Air Force Link had a fascinating story.'Toys for Iraqi tots " Otherwise here is another typical report for October 25th 2007 and onother (latest available) for December 16th
Enemy combatants in Asadabad were struck by GBU-38s (500lbs) and GBU-31s (2,000 lbs) dropped by a B-1B. The strike was declared successful by the JTAC. (The B1-B can carry 75,000 pounds internal bomb load)
- " In total, 41 close-air-support missions were flown in support of ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols. " NB - a Total of 289 in November !!!!!! - they also report, "In total, coalition aircraft flew 61 close-air-support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom." NB - a Total of 81 in November !!!!!!
The data on airlift and tanker flights reflect the fact that this is a war where virtually all troops move by aircraft, and where air cargo plays a critical role in both theaters - preumably becaue of the danger s inherent in land based convoys of both men and materiel.. Passenger transfers essentially have plateaued since 2005, but total short tons of cargo delivered increased by nearly 50% between 2005 and 2007.
THere has been a major increase in tanker refueling activity since 2006 , 42,083 receiving aircraft in 2006 versus 73,174 (+ 73% ) in 2007 with virtually the same fuel weights offloaded
( 871 Mn pounds 2006 / 865 Mn pounds 2007) suggests lower fuel loading for bomber / fighter strikes rather than long range surveillance / transports.
Lenin's Tomb has handily inserted these figures into an Excell spreadsheet / Graph for easier and clearer understanding of the impact and sudden escalation of the aerial war.
See : Our Only Tool is a Hammer - Is the Bombing of Afghanistan a Viable Strategy? by J. C. Adamson
See :A Dossier on Civilian Victims of United States' Aerial Bombing of Afghanistan:
"What causes the documented high level of civilian casualties -- 3,000 - 3,400 [October 7, 2001 thru March 2002] civilian deaths -- in the U.S. air war upon Afghanistan? The explanation is the apparent willingness of U.S. military strategists to fire missiles into and drop bombs upon, heavily populated areas of Afghanistan."
Professor Marc W. Herold Ph.D., M.B.A., B.Sc. University of New Hampshire
When U.S. warplanes strafed [with AC-130 gunships] the farming village of Chowkar-Karez, 25 miles north of Kandahar on October 22-23rd, killing at least 93 civilians, a Pentagon official said, "the people there are dead because we wanted them dead." The reason? They sympathized with the Taliban1. When asked about the Chowkar incident, Rumsfeld replied, "I cannot deal with that particular village." Murray Campbell, "Bombing of Farming Village Undermines U.S Credibility," Toronto Globe & Mail [November 3, 2001].
Not to mention the use of long range artillery.Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), nicknamed the '70km Sniper', provides pinpoint accuracy delivering a 200lb high explosive warhead over 60 Km. ..and the "muthafuckers" in action.