Unit History: Combined Air Operations Centre Kalkar
From one Combined Air Operations Center in the AOR, Airmen daily command and control a fleet of
hundreds of US, allied, and coalition aircraft which provide every Joint Force Commander complete
air coverage across a 27-country theater. Airmen produce and fly over 300 sorties a day over Iraq
and Afghanistan, delivering precision strike, close air support, mobility, ISR, air refueling and aeromedevac.
Just this past week, the Air Force surpassed one million sorties flown in the Global War on
Terror. The Air Force has nearly 300 aircraft stationed in the CENTCOM AOR today, and Airmen
operate out of over 60 locations. Intelligence reports indicate the enemy’s worst fear is US airpower;
indeed, the majority of the dead or captured enemy leadership have been taken off the battlefield
using the airpower capabilities provided the Joint Force Commanders. In addition, Airmen are
operating 68 Air Force satellites providing overhead intelligence, communications, and positioning
continuously to every Joint Force Commander. Every 90 seconds, Airmen launch and fly an Air
Force mobility aircraft from somewhere on the globe, providing vital combat logistics for the GWOT.
Inter-theater assets have airlifted 2,500 MRAPs to the CENTCOM AOR. Also, Airmen operate intratheater
airlifters that keep more than 12,000 people and 5,000 vehicles out of harm’s way each month.
Moreover, in less than 10 months, Airmen developed and fielded a Joint Precision Airdrop System,
allowing forward-based ground warriors in Afghanistan and Iraq to receive vital supplies daily with
pinpoint accuracy in all types of weather to any remote location.
In the area of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, Airmen have pushed every available
UAV to the AOR. The stated requirement is to provide 21 Predator Combat Air Patrols (CAPs) to
CENTCOM by 2010, and Airmen beat that timeline by two years and with greater numbers--today we
have 23 CAPs over Iraq and Afghanistan, . . . and we’ll have 25 CAPs by Jun, and 31 CAPs by Apr
09. General Petraeus, Commanding General, MNF-I, this month: “I don’t know who the Predator
pilots are here, but the Predator teams have just been doing unbelievable work down there and in
Baghdad as well. And, I think there’s some path-breaking work on going here.…It has been really
impressive.” In October 2007, Airmen fielded the first MQ-9 Reaper, with nearly twice the
performance of Predator and 6 times the payload. In another example of Airmen enhancing the kill
chain, the Air Force developed, fielded, and put in the hands of ground force commanders over 3,000
sets of ROVER technology which provides real-time video situational awareness and pinpoints enemy
positions. It is this very development that is driving ground force demand for added coverage, and the
Air Force is responding.
Airmen are also fulfilling other warfighting tasks in the AOR, as nearly 6,000 Airmen currently
perform full-time duties in areas such as Detainee Operations, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, and
Convoy Operations. Saving lives, Airmen operate combat surgical hospitals that are saving 97% of
the wounded warriors that are airlifted to their operating tables--more than 50,000 since 2001.
Building partner capacity, Airmen have built from scratch, in less than 2 years, a nascent Iraqi Air
Force and Afghan Air Corps which now operate in combat alongside Iraqi Security Forces and the
Afghan National Army. Embedded training teams filled by Airmen are performing such tasks as
building the Afghan National Army’s Logistics Command. Provincial Reconstruction Teams are
being manned by Airmen; indeed, half of the US-led Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan
are commanded by Airmen.
Finally, often overlooked are the Airmen ensuring America’s Air Sovereignty every day, now having
exceeded 50,000 sorties flown over our skies defending the homeland since 11 Sep 01.