The Australian government is sending a ground and air combat force to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Southwest Asia to bomb positions of the so-called Islamic State rebels in Iraq and Syria, Australian prime minister Tony Abbott announced on Sunday morning 14 September 2014.
The contingent will exist of 6 to 8 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet attack aircraft from No. 1 and/or No. 6 Squadron based at RAAF Amberly (Queensland), a Boeing E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft from No. 2 Squadron based at RAAF Base Williamtown and an Airbus KC-30A tanker from No. 33 Squadron based at RAAF Amberley.
Apart from the 400 RAAF personnel that will support and fly the machines, Canberra is also deploying 200 ground troops – mostly special forces. For their insertion into Iraqi and Syrian areas, the Australian commandos will probably rely on US air assets.
According to prime minister Abbott the Australian contribution in the war on the so-called IS forces – which might number more than 30,000 – will initially be fully focused on rebel positions in one country only, after a direct request from the United States to Canberra for military combat units to contribute to what is officially still called “a possible military action in Iraq”. Once the units will commence in combat operations this “could go on for some time” Mr. Abbott said.
The RAAF units will operate out of the United Arab Emirates, which will likely mean Al Minhad Airbase where Australia already has a support facility. The mission will mean busy times for RAAF Amberly. Most of the aircraft deployed come from this airbase near Brisbane, but it is also home to No. 36 Squadron which six RAAF C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifters will support the mission. These Boeing jets will be assisted by some of the dozen RAAF Lockheed C-130J Super Hercules’s flying with No. 37 Squadron from RAAF Richmond, near Sydney.
To match Australian’s military ambitions, the Canberra government is ordering more C-17s and KC-30s.
© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger