US, Coalition Aircraft Set Record Highs in ISIS Fight, Afghanistan

Maintainers prepare an F-16 Fighting Falcon for combat after landing at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 31, 2017. Within hours of arriving from Aviano AB, Italy, the new F-16s were loaded with munitions and ready to deliver airpower in Afghanistan. Air Force photo by SSgt. Benjamin Gonsier.

US aircraft set record highs in both the fight against ISIS and in Afghanistan in August.

In that month, US and coalition aircraft dropped 5,075 bombs in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria—the highest monthly total since Operation Inherent Resolve kicked off in August 2014. That number eclipsed the previous high, set in June, for a yearly total of 32,801—just over 2,000 more than all of 2016, according to statistics released by Air Forces Central Command.

In Afghanistan, US aircraft released 503 weapons in August, the highest total since August 2012 when 589 bombs were dropped. This brings the total for 2017 to 2,487, which is already higher than every full year total since 2013.

The increase in Afghanistan will continue through the year as the US sends additional troops as part of the White House’s new strategy for a “lasting victory” in the country. The 555th Fighter Squadron from Aviano AB, Italy, originally deployed to Afghanistan in May and in late August sent additional F-16s to build up the amount of aircraft at Bagram Airfield.

The buildup in Afghanistan is also seeing the return of airdrops. So far this year, US aircraft have dropped 12,076 pounds of supplies. There were no airdrops in 2015 and 2016.