Coalition strike aircraft continued to pound insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past few days. According to US Central Command Air Forces, on Dec. 23, USAF F-16s provided close air support for troops near Bayji and Al Hawijah, Iraq, while USAF B-52s and RAF GR7s launched precision guided munitions to strike caves used by insurgents near Tarin Kowt in Afghanistan. A USAF Predator UAV fired a Hellfire missile against insurgents, also near Tarin Kowt. On Dec. 24, F-16s covered coalition troops under fire from insurgents near Baquba, Iraq. That same day, in Afghanistan, USAF A-10s and a Predator provided CAS for coalition forces taking enemy fire near Khowst. On Dec. 25, USAF F-15s, conducting CAS near Balad, Iraq, launched one PGM against enemy troops using mortars; F-16s, a Predator, and RAF GR4s provided CAS near Baquba, with a GR4 using a PGM to strike an enemy firing position; and F-15s provided CAS near Baghdad. And, in Afghanistan on Dec. 25, A-10s conducted CAS for troops near Orgun-E. On Dec. 26, F-16s struck enemy forces near Balad, using three PGMs, while F-15s flew CAS near Salman Pak.
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.