Charting the Air War Against ISIS

The number of aircraft deployed and available for the fight against ISIS has dipped following the rotation of two carriers outside the area of responsibility, but there is still up to 160 aircraft flying daily over Iraq and Syria, the head of the air war said Thursday. Lt. Gen. Charles Brown, commander of Air Forces Central Command, said that includes a mix of strike aircraft; command and control; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; and tankers. Brown, who closely monitors aircraft availability, noted there is a need for more ISR assets to help develop targets for airstrikes. He said AFCENT is in a “valley” following the peak aircraft availability earlier this year when the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier and the French Charles de Gaulle carrier were deployed. However, another carrier deployment is coming, so “it is not a long-term concern,” he added. (See also: Tracking Airpower in the AOR and AFCENT’s Rapid Evolution.)