We can deliver 200 tons a day
roads? what roads?
Cargo Flights Added to Cut Risky Land Trips
WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 - Responding to the threat of roadside bombings and ambushes of American ground convoys in Iraq, the Air Force is sharply expanding its airlift of equipment and supplies to bases inside the country to reduce the amount of military cargo hauled over land routes, Air Force officials said Tuesday.
Dozens of Air Force C-130 and C-17 transport planes, and contracted commercial aircraft, are ferrying about 450 tons of cargo a day, including spare parts, food, water, medical supplies and other matériel that normally moves by truck or trailer, a 29 percent increase in the past month.
Even trucks are sometimes shipped in by air.
In just the past month, the increased air operations have kept more than 400 trucks and about 1,050 drivers with military escorts off the most dangerous roads in Iraq, said an Air Force spokesman, Lt. Col. Mike Caldwell. American military convoys have been suffering about 100 deaths and injuries a month.
The increased airlift operations started in early November at the urging of Gen. John P. Jumper, the Air Force chief of staff, who told reporters on Tuesday that he threw "a little fit" when he learned on a visit to Iraq last month that air and ground commanders were not sufficiently focused on finding ways the Air Force could reduce the number of ground convoys, especially in the treacherous Sunni-dominated areas north and west of Baghdad.
"Taking the trucks off the most dangerous routes where we have most of the trouble has become a goal," General Jumper said at a breakfast meeting. "We're all working toward that."
Flying cargo is more expensive than hauling supplies overland, but the Air Force's decision reflects the judgment of air and ground commanders that the insurgency will continue to pose a lethal threat to American supply lines, and that extraordinary steps must be taken to ensure the safe flow of cargo and to reduce casualties. The increased airlift started well before soldiers in Kuwait complained last week to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that they were being sent to combat in Iraq without enough armored equipment to protect them.
But General Jumper's comments reinforce the concern that military personnel, from troops in the field to members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are expressing over one of the most dangerous missions in Iraq.
A major victory for the resistance.
They now largely control the roadnet. American units have to rely upon air resupply or heavily guarded convoys. It also means that they can't do anything about securing said roadnet.
Watch for the Strela teams to return. More planes mean more missle attacks. They've already preculded large scale airmobile operations.
Let's see, in the last quarter, the resistance shut down the airport road, ambushed convoys on a daily basis, murdered a couple of hundred National Guardsmen, trapped the US in Fallujah and kidnapped Allawi's relatives.
Despite the hype, the US needs access to roads, aircraft can't do it alone. Every plane hauling trash can't haul troops and increases wear and tear in a very wear and tear prone theater.
I don't think we're winning this war.
posted by Steve @ 1:36:00 AM