No coalition aircraft were lost in a series of “very successful” strikes against a range of terrorist targets in Syria and Iraq Monday night, Joint Staff Director of Operations Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville reported Tuesday during a Pentagon press conference. Mayville confirmed the F-22 Raptor participated in the strikes, hitting an ISIS command and control center in Syria during its combat debut. Other US platforms launching strikes included F-15Es, F-16s, F/A-18s, as well as B-1B bombers, unidentified “drones,” and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles; more than 40 of which were fired collectively from the USS Arleigh Burke and USS Philippine Sea. Raw footage also showed F/A-18 and EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft launching from the carrier USS George H. W. Bush. Mayville said the strikes took place in three waves, beginning at about 8:30 p.m. EST on Sept. 22. The first wave included the TLAMs, which struck ISIS targets in the vicinity of Aleppo, Syria. The second wave, conducted at about 9 p.m. EST, included the F-22s, F-15s, B-1s, and F-16s, striking ISIS headquarters, “training camps, barracks, and combat vehicles,” Mayville said. Carrier-based aircraft from the Persian Gulf and “regionally based” F-16s made up the third wave, which launched around midnight EST, and focused on “targets in Eastern Syria, to include ISIL training camps and combat vehicles” in the area around Dayr az-Zawr. Coalition partners flew combat missions in the second and third waves, Mayville reported, but he declined to specify allied contributions, referring such questions to partner countries. He also said some targets were struck in Iraq, but didn’t provide details. US aircraft dropped the “preponderance” of munitions expended, he said.
As the U.S. continues to pursue a diplomatic resolution with Russia over its troop buildup on the Ukraine border, the Defense Department is looking into what capabilities it will need to reassure NATO allies if Russia does launch an invasion, its top spokesperson said Jan. 21.