Here is the latest breakdown of which airframes are flying the most sorties over Iraq and Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). Not surprisingly, the Viper is sitting at the top of the list for the most sorties flown in the AOR while the B-1, again–not surprisingly, is dropping the largest percentage of the ordinance. The A-10 is certainly flying and dropping its fair share, as are the F-15E Strike Eagles in theater. Bottom line is none of the tactical air asset communities are hurting for things to do.
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.
“We have conducted 67 percent of the nearly 11,000 airstrikes,” said Raymond, deputy chief of staff for Air Force operations. “From F-15s to F-22s to A-10s to B-1s to [remotely piloted aircraft], we use all of the aircraft to meet the … demands of the mission at hand.”
Military officials, from Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command, to Lt. Gen. Charles Brown Jr., commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, have heralded the Air Force’s performance against the Islamic State, from the successful intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions flown by the F-22 Raptor to the ability of the A-10 Thunderbolt to destroy the Islamic State’s oil and cash reserves.
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 decades-old bomber has dropped almost 40 percent of the Air Force bombs on Islamic State targets, according to the service’s statistics. Unsurprisingly, this correlates with the B-1’s 75,000-pound payload capacity, which can include both precision-guided and and non-precision weapons.