Never one to miss out on some heavy "shock and awe", Bloomberg reports that the U.S. dropped almost as many bombs and missiles on Islamic State positions in Syria in its first night of airstrikes there as it did in the first month of attacks on the extremist group in Iraq. It appears American foreign policy comes down to this, "it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission," as the offensive unleashed 200 precision-guided munitions including 47 Tomahawk cruise missiles, and also got to play with its new F-22 toy in its first combat mission. The first night of airstrikes was “only the beginning,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon’s spokesman, told reporters.
The "allied" airbases...
As Bloomberg reports, the U.S. dropped almost as many bombs and missiles on Islamic State positions in Syria in its first night of airstrikes there as it did in the first month of attacks on the extremist group in Iraq.
The offensive two nights ago, joined by five Arab nations, used about 200 munitions, most of them precision-guided, as well as some of 47 Tomahawk cruise missiles that were launched from two warships, according to U.S. Central Command. That rivals the 253 bombs and missiles aimed at the Sunni terrorist group’s positions in neighboring Iraq from Aug. 8 to Sept. 10.
The overnight attacks hit compounds, storage facilities and even a finance center of Islamic State, which has seized a swath of Iraq and Syria. The first night of airstrikes was “only the beginning,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon’s spokesman, told reporters.
The attacks also counted on the Tactical Tomahawk, the newest version of the cruise missile made by Raytheon Co., which can be redirected in mid-flight.
“You fly it, and it can receive changes in targeting, changes in direction,” the Navy’s chief of operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, told reporters last year. “It can go up and actually loiter.”
The barrage dwarfed the airstrikes in Iraq so far under President Barack Obama, some of which took out targets as small as a single Humvee or a roadside bomb.
“There’s an expectation that the U.S. needs to bolster defense spending because some of the challenges that we face are larger than” the Pentagon budget will provide, said Howard Rubel, a New York-based analyst with Jefferies LLC.
Mayville disclosed the F-22’s first combat mission by showing a photo depicting damage it inflicted on part of an Islamic State command-and-control center in Raqqa.
The fighter delivered munitions guided by Global Positioning System satellites against the facility, Mayville said. Designed as an air-to-air fighter with a secondary ground-attack mission, the F-22 is equipped to drop two 1,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions made by Chicago-based Boeing Co.
It was vindication of sorts for a plane never before used in combat that Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, said in 2011 “may very well become the most expensive, corroding hangar queen ever in the history of modern aviation.”
In 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, citing its limited utility, capped the F-22 program at 187 aircraft after $67.3 billion has been spent. Congress approved.
The Government Accountability Office said in March that the Air Force planned to spent $11.3 billion more to upgrade the jet and “address the aircraft’s reliability and structural problems.”
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And the military assets involved agasinst Islamic State...
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