May 2, 2006:
American and Coalition warplanes are flying 25-60 combat missions a day in Afghanistan. The most common aircraft seen are B-52s providing smart bombs. A-10s use their 30mm cannon, or fire missiles. The A-10 cannon is very accurate, having originally been designed to take out tanks. British Harrier jets also fire missiles and drop smart bombs, as do U.S. Navy F-18s. The Harriers are particularly popular because they can hover. U.S. Army AH-64 helicopter gunships fly a dozen or more sorties a day. Recon aircraft typically fly a dozen or more sorties a day. Most of the flying, however, is done by transport aircraft and helicopters, which provide 100-200 sorties a day.