Dutch F-16s of the Air Task Force (ATF) in Afghanistan began flying this week with upgraded RecceLite reconnaissance pods. These are containers with special observation equipment that are carried under the fighter’s fuselage.
The new version can, in a shorter time, take more pictures at greater resolutions. The system is used to map out routes where possible roadside bombs (IEDs) are placed.
The so-called counter-IED missions flown by the F-16s are very effective. In the past six years they have found several suspected sites where hidden explosives were later made harmless. Most victims in Afghanistan are caused by IED-attacks.
The routes which are used by the Dutch Redeployment Task Force (RDTF) to move equipment in Afghanistan are also monitored by the fighters.
Since September 2009 flying the
F-16s based at Kandahar Airfield (KAF) have been flying route reconnaissance missions over Afghanistan since September 2009. The images they gather are analyzed by the Tactical Air Reconnaissance Center (TARC) for the presence of possible IED’s. Along with the new RecceLite pods, the image analysis software has also been updated. IEDs are thus more efficiently detected.
The ATF operates from KAF with F-16s, Chinook transport helicopters and vehicles, and from Tarin Kowt with Apache attack helicopters.
Since August 1, the ATF has taken over responsibility to assist the RDTF for the return of equipment from the Dutch deployment in Uruzgan province, and to provide air support when ISAF units on the ground are in jeopardy.