The Air Force and coalition partners in the air war against the Islamic State are not only sharing intelligence, runways and strategic plans, they're also sharing bombs.
Coalition jets having been taking from the U.S. stockpiles as needed, said Lt. Gen. John Raymond, deputy chief of staff for operations at Headquarters Air Force.
"We do have relationships with our coalition partners for those supplies; they are using those weapons as well," Raymond told reporters Thursday at a defense writer's briefing in Washington, D.C.
While the Air Force is not immediately concerned with its depleting its stockpiles, "it is something we are managing very closely to make sure … we have the supplies to do what we need to do today," he said.
The service, flying more than half the total sorties under Operation Inherent Resolve, has dropped 4,748 bombs so far in 2016 thus far; in 2015, aircraft released approximately 28,675 weapons, according to statistics from Air Forces Central Command statistics.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said earlier this year that the Defense Department is running low on precision bombs and missiles. The fiscal 2017 budget requests up to $1.8 billion to buy 45,000 smart bombs and other guided munitions to replenish supplies in the continuing air campaign against Islamic State militants. stockpiles of smart-bombs and missiles to give U.S.service members the ultimate resource in the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
The U.S. is responsible for the most targeted strikes against ISISthe militant group in the region. The coalition includes Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
In December, the Air Force lamented over its dwindling bomb stockpiles, telling USA Today it had fired more than 20,000 missiles and bombs since the in the air campaign since OIR began in 2014, according to USA Today.
"We're in the business of killing terrorists and business is good," Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told the paper. "We need to replenish our munitions stock. Weapons take years to produce, from the day the contract is assigned until they roll off the production line."
Airmen are also involved in meeting the demand for ordnance.
And some airmen fill that production line under the high demand.
The 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight, for example, continues to work on buildsing bombs at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. Between July and the end of 2015, the team of airmen built a record 4,000 bombs,;that comes to one every seven 7 minutes.
"We've had a lot of engagements over the history of the Air Force. This pace of building precision guided munitions or JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) is significantly greater than past smaller engagements," SMSgt. Gordon Comerford, the production superintendent and supervisor for the unit, told Air Force Times in January.
"We build and we have built a lot of munitions for conflicts, but generally those conflicts are short in duration, or the bombing campaign isn't as sustained as what we've done here," he said.
Raymond said the U.S. does gets reimbursed for the "leasing" of its bombs, but did not specify if the reimbursement was monetary, or if partners and allies in the fight against ISIS have a proposed trade agreement of some sortfor additional stockpiles.
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.