In Sangin, Afghanistan, on June 5, a B-1B bomber struck enemy combatants with 500-pound and 2,000-pound joint direct attack munitions, and an MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle attacked with a 500-pound laser-guided bomb, Air Forces Central announced June 6. They were part of the 52 close air support missions flown by US and coalition aircraft in Afghanistan on that day, AFCENT said. A-10s were also busy, hitting the enemy with 500-pound LGBs in Bermel, cannon rounds in Bagram and Zormat, and cannon rounds and rockets near Orgune. As in Afghanistan, US and coalition aircraft flew 52 CAS missions in Iraq on June 5, including F-16s taking out an enemy position with 500-pound JDAMs at an undisclosed location.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.