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Air Force to replenish munitions stockpile for Islamic State airstrikes

By Amy R. Connolly   |   Dec. 5, 2015 at 11:59 AM
| License Photo

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force has fired some 20,000 bombs and missiles since beginning airstrikes against the Islamic State militant group, depleting munitions stockpiles "faster than we can replenish them," officials said.

Air Force chief of staff Gen. Mark Welsh said the bombing campaign that began 15 months ago in Iraq and Syria to target IS fighters has seen bombs dropped in record numbers. While the Navy and Marines carry out some U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, the Air Force carries out most from a variety of warplanes and drones.

"We're expending munitions faster than we can replenish them. B-1s have dropped bombs in record numbers. F-15Es are in the fight because they are able to employ a wide range of weapons and do so with great flexibility," Welsh said. "We need the funding in place to ensure we're prepared for the long fight. This is a critical need."

The most recent Air Force statistics show through the end of October, 22,286 munitions have been used against IS targets in Iraq and Syria.

The Air Force said Congress approved a $400 million request to replenish Hellfire missiles and other munitions being used against the IS, also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh.

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