Precision Key to Close Air Support Success

Combat air activities in Southwest Asia—especially Afghanistan—have grown at a breakneck pace over the past several years, said Lt. Gen. Mike Hostage, US Central Command’s top airman. Close air support sorties in Afghanistan went from 20,359 in 2008 to more than 33,679 in 2010, according to Air Forces Central statistics. Meanwhile, the number of CAS sorties with weapons released held fairly steady, with 5,215 in 2008 compared to 5,101 in 2010. “The basic reality is, we hit what we aim at. We’re very careful about when and where we drop bombs,” Hostage told the Daily Report from his theater headquarters last week during a phone interview. The “tremendous” increase in intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance sorties has also been critical to the Afghan campaign, he noted. Continue