Four F-16s deployed to Balad AB, Iraq, destroyed an al Qaeda training camp near Kabala on July 21, following the targeting directions provided by Joint Terminal Attack Controllers on the ground. The fighters dropped 500-pound and 1,000-pound precision guided munitions on the terrorist facility, reports Maj. Robert Couse-Baker. Another air strike by a single Viper the next day took out a weapons cache in a rural area north of Baghdad using a single PGM that ignited the weapons inside. The Air Force currently has deployed F-16s to Balad from the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa AB, Japan, the Oklahoma Air National Guard’s 138th FW in Tulsa, Ohio ANG’s 180th FW, and Air Force Reserve Command’s 301st FW in Fort Worth, Tex., and 482nd FW in Toledo, Ohio.
After a long period in which munitions were almost an afterthought and sacrificed to pay for other priorities, the Air Force needs to focus on them in order to have the right “package” of capabilities for future conflicts, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said June 7.