The Air Force has flown more than half of the 87,000 coalition sorties over Iraq and Syria since the air campaign against the Islamic State militant group began, striking key locations and assets about 25 times a day, Lt. Gen. John Raymond told reporters Thursday.
That number may increase in the weeks ahead as Iraqi forces advance to reclaim Mosul, the most populous city in the territory held by ISIS.
The U.S. has primarily targeted the Islamic State group through its nascent air campaign, likely to develop in weeks ahead as Iraqi forces advance to reclaim Mosul.
To date, the Air Force has been the service in the airwar responsible for flying more than half of the 87,000 sorties over Iraq and Syria, striking key locations roughly 25 times daily, Lt. Gen. John Raymond told reporters on Thursday.
But what aircraft conducts the most strikes? Which fighters soar from the flightline more often?
The B-1 bomber can lay claim to the title for the U.S. aircraft to release the most ordnance since Operation Inherent Resolve, the Pentagon's name for the campaign, began in 2014, according to Air Force Central Command statistics of manned aircraft provided to Air Force Times.
The U.S. Air Force is using five manned aircraft for its missions in support of the war on Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria. A look at how each is being employed:
Photo Credit: John Bretschneider
"We only do precision," Joseph continued. "We want to be deliberate. A precise weapon ... allows us to strike the area that we've been tasked to, identified as an enemy target."
is responsible for flying
In comparison, the F-16 accounts for 17 percent of weapons released since operations began, and the F-15 for 27 percent.
Congressional members, like Rep. Martha McSally, R-Rhode Island, and Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who continuously tout the A-10's unique abilities,y in various theaters, can point to its performance against ISIS as evidence that it remains relevant and effective, flying 27 percent of the sorties against ISIS, coming in third for most Air Force strike sorties flown, according to AFCENT data says.
McSally, a retired colonel and former A-10 pilot, and her counterparts hone the gunship's performance and vow the aircraft — set to begin retirement as early as 2018 — will remain "until we know without a doubt we can replace their capabilities," McSally said in January.
The A-10 comes in fourth with sorties, at 16 percent.
Air Force's total inventory, the Raptor by no coincidence flies and strikes the least from all the aircraft in the AOR.
A pair of Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq early in September 2014 after conducting airstrikes in Syria.
Photo Credit: SrA Matthew Bruch/Air Forces Central Command
But a March 19 attack on buildings at the University of Mosul in Iraq, an ISIS headquarters, may have killed dozens of civilians in addition to the militants targeted, according to airwars.org. The United Kingdom-based organization monitors international airstrikes against the Islamic State and other groups in Iraq and Syria, and assesses claims of civilian casualties.
The group asserts that the Pentagon has badly underestimated the number of civilian casualties resulting from the Inherent Resolve air campaign.
Oriana Pawlyk covers deployments, cyber, Guard/Reserve, uniforms, physical training, crime and operations in the Middle East, Europe and Pacific for Air Force Times. She was the Early Bird Brief editor in 2015. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.