US running out of bombs to drop on ISIS

After firing away 20k bombs and missiles in its 15-month campaign, the country’s Air Force may soon have no ammo left to conduct air strikes against the terrorist group

Washington: The US Air Force is fast running out of bombs to drop on ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq after its pilots fired off over 20,000 missiles and bombs since the US bombing campaign against the terror group began 15 months ago, its chief has said.

General Mark Welsh, chief of staff, US Air Force . Pic/AFP
General Mark Welsh, chief of staff, US Air Force . Pic/AFP

As America ramps up its military campaign against the Islamist terror group, the Air Force is now "expending munitions faster than we can replenish them," Air Force chief of staff General Mark Welsh said.

The bombing has left the US Air Force with what an Air Force official described as munitions depot stocks "below our desired objective."

File photo of two US Navy F-18E Super Hornets supporting operations against IS over Iraq after conducting an air strike. Pic/AFP
File photo of two US Navy F-18E Super Hornets supporting operations against IS over Iraq after conducting an air strike. Pic/AFP

Plan forward
The Air Force has requested additional funding for Hellfire missiles and is developing plans to ramp up weapons production to replenish its stocks quickly. But replenishing that stock can take "up to four years from time of expenditure to asset resupply," the official told. "The precision today’s wars requires demands the right equipment and capability to achieve desired effects. We need to ensure the necessary funding is in place to not only execute today’s wars, but also tomorrow’s challenges," the official said.

Criticism
The Air Force’s publication on the number of missiles and bombs dropped comes amid continued criticism from Republicans — in particular those running for president — who insist the Obama administration has been too timid in the fight against ISIS, with many on the right calling for the US to lead a more aggressive fight.

'Need to' refill bomb stock

American Air Force pilots have fired weapons in less than half of the nearly 18,000 sorties they have in the first 10 months of 2015, as per  the latest figures available. That’s up from 2014, when pilots fired their weapons just one third of the time, the report said.

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