The new commander of Operation Inherent Resolve took command on Sunday, overseeing a mission in transition as allied ground forces look to build on their momentum against ISIS. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of XVIII Airborne Corps, assumed command of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve from Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland during a ceremony in Southwest Asia, the Defense Department announced. Ongoing efforts against ISIS “have accelerated” the campaign, Townsend said, with the largest focus now on retaking the ISIS-held city of Mosul, Iraq. In the past year, the coalition has trained more than 13,500 members of the Iraqi security forces who will help retake and hold the city and other areas of Iraq. In the same time frame, the coalition has conducted about 50,000 counter-ISIS sorties and dropped more than 30,000 munitions. Over the weekend, coalition aircraft conducted 18 strikes in both Syria and Iraq targeting ISIS tactical units, weapons facilities, and oil infrastructure, US Central Command announced.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.