The US just released figures showing how hard it pounded ISIS in August
The US-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Afghanistan dropped 5,075 bombs during close-air-support, escort, or interdiction operations in August, according to US Air Forces Central Command data.
The August total was the highest of any month during the three-year campaign against the terrorist group.
The previous monthly high was 4,848 in June. Each of first eight months of 2017 has exceeded the amount of bombs dropped in any other month of the campaign.
The number of weapons released through the first eight months of 2017 is 32,801, surpassing the 30,743 dropped all last year, which was the previous annual high for the campaign.
The 13,109 sorties so far this year is on pace to fall short of the total in 2016 and 2015 — both of which exceeded 21,100. The 8,249 sorties with at least one weapon deployed so far this year are set to top last year’s 11,825, however.
Both Iraq and Syria have seen intense urban fighting this year, which often requires more active air support.
Not all aircraft active over Iraq and Syria are under Air Forces Central Command’s control, so the figures likely understate the total number of weapons deployed.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also intervened to request more money for bombs in response to concerns about expenditures in the US Central Command area of operations, which includes the Middle East.
Mattis asked for about $3.5 billion more for “preferred munitions,” including 7,664 Hellfire missiles and 34,529 Joint Direct Attack Munitions.
During his campaign, President Donald Trump promised to “bomb the hell out of ISIS,” and he appears to have keep that pledge.
Bombing during Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS in Iraq and Syria — the recent stages of which US commanders have referred to as an “annihilation campaign” — has reached “unprecedented levels” under Trump, according to Micah Zenko and Jennifer Wilson of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the increase has extended to other areas, like Yemen and Somalia, as well.
The intensified bombing appears to have yielded a higher civilian death toll. There were at least 2,300 civilians killed by coalition strikes during the Obama administration, and between Trump’s January 20 inauguration and mid-July, there had been over 2,200 civilian casualties, according to monitoring group Airwars.
Other estimates put the number of civilian deaths much higher, and there is similar uncertainty about the number of ISIS fighters who have been killed. Coalition officials have made several estimates about the total slain, despite doubts about the utility and reliability of body counts.
Army Gen. Raymond Thomas, head of US Special Operations Command, said in July that “conservative estimates” put the number of ISIS dead between 60,000 and 70,000, echoing an statement he made in February.
The Pentagon said in summer 2016 that there were 15,000 to 20,000 ISIS militants left in Iraq and Syria, and US officials said in December that 50,000 of the terrorist group’s fighters had been killed — twice as many as the UK defense minister claimed had been killed that same month.
- Trump wants to send more troops to Afghanistan — here are the territories controlled by the Taliban and ISIS
- The world's first stealth fighter jet is being permanently retired — here's a look at the F-117A Nighthawk
- The Army is scrapping its plans for a new, more powerful rifle
- Vintage photos from the last time Americans faced the threat of nuclear war
- Republican congressman says the US should preemptively strike North Korea
- Why Green Berets are the smartest, most lethal fighters in the world
Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter .
The 13 funniest memes for the week of Sept. 22
Kim Jong Un has an H-Bomb. These good ol' fashioned military memes will make your last few moments less excruciating. Memes are proven to cool hydrogen burns.
How Taco Bell influenced a rapper to become a Marine
In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, we speak with The Marine Rapper a.k.a. TMR about how he went from wrapping tacos to rapping music lyrics.
These are the best military photos for the week of September 23
The military has very talented photographers in the ranks, and they’re always capturing what life as a service member is like during training and at war. Here are the best military photos of the week.
The US just sent 2,200 of these Fort Bragg paratroopers to Afghanistan
Approximately 2,200 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers began quietly deploying this month, part of a long-discussed troop surge to Afghanistan.
The Marines just took a look at this Civil War battlefield to learn military lessons for the future
The battle, which involved 18,456 mounted troops and was the largest cavalry clash in North America, also remains largely unknown by today's students of military history.
The Air Force is finally getting with the program and planning for urban fights
Air Force Chief of Staff David Goldfein has added urban warfare to his list of top focus areas, predicting that much of the world will live in megacities.
How we found out it's not so easy to fly a Reaper drone
Let's just say computer flight simulator games don't provide enough experience to make a good landing.
Here's what the Marines of 'Full Metal Jacket' are doing today
The Marines killed the enemy together, laughed together, and shared a Da Nang hooker together. But what happened to them after the war? You're about to find out.
Army ditches search for 7.62 battle rifle — for now
Less than two months after the Army issued a request from industry to provide up to 50,000 7.62 battle rifles, sources say the service has pulled the plug on the program.
THE MIGHTY SURVEY GIVE-AWAY
We want to hear your thoughts. Complete our survey for a chance to win 1 of 5 gaming consoles