Seven Figures and Counting

Based on the average current rate of daily sorties, the Air Force anticipates surpassing today (April 21) the one-millionth flight milestone in the global war on terror since Sept. 11, 2001. This includes airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation, bomber, fighter, reconnaissance, and tanker flights around the clock to support military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, and aerial surveillance, fighter, and tanker sorties that protect the homeland. “Synchronized and integrated into larger coalition air efforts, these missions represent the most deliberate, disciplined, and precise air campaign in history,” USAF said April 18 in announcing the upcoming event. The Air Force says it is averaging more than 450 sorties a day worldwide. It flies these missions from the United States as well as from more than 100 sites worldwide. As of April 1, the Air Force’s tally was 991,172 total sorties. This includes 352,586 for Operation Iraqi Freedom (about 200 per day on average); 193,908 for Operation Enduring Freedom (about 85 per day); 50,984 for Operation Nobel Eagle (about 18 per day); and 393,424 for additional supporting airlift missions (about 180 per day). We understand that the ONE total includes sorties over the contiguous 48 states as well as over Alaska and Hawaii. The most recent data provided us by Air Forces Northern cover only the combat air patrols over the continental US.