Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet ((A44-222) landing after an air display during the 2013 Avalon Airshow. (Image (CC) Bidgee)

Australia & Belgium begin operations over Iraq

Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet ((A44-222) landing after an air display during the 2013 Avalon Airshow. (Image (CC) Bidgee)
A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet, seen during the 2013 Avalon Airshow. (Image © Bidgee)

Australia and Belgium have started flying operations against ISIS on Wednesday 1 October 2014. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is supporting operations with a Boeing E-7A Wedgetail early warning and control aircraft and Airbus KC-30A refuelling aircraft. Belgian Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter aircraft carried out recce flights over Baghdad. Also, the first Dutch F-16s arrived in Jordan on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, six RAAF Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets are on standby in Dubai, awaiting final clearances for strike missions against ISIS in Iraq. It will mark the first time Australian Super Hornets are used in anger.

A Belgian Air Component General Dynamics (Lockheed-Martin) F-16AM Fighting Falcon just after take-off from its homebase Kleine Brogel, flying with 10 Wing (Image © Marcel Burger)
A Belgian Air Component Lockheed Martin F-16AM Fighting Falcon just after take-off from its homebase Kleine Brogel. (Image © Marcel Burger)

Not so for the Belgian Air Component. In the same week Belgian operation Guardian Falcon ended in Kandahar, Afghanistan, flying operations began over Iraq. From their temporary base in Azraq, Jordan, recce flights were carried out over Baghdad, as preparation for combat missions against ISIS.

Australia and Belgium join the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Bahrain, who started striking ISIS targets in both Iraq and Syria late September. Denmark and the Netherlands are set to join as well. Three Dutch F-16 were flown to Jordan from Leeuwarden airbase on Wednesday, and an Antonov 124 transporter carried supplies from the Netherlands. Denmark has cancelled its F-16 participation in the regular NATO Tactical Leadership Program (TLP) in Spain, freeing up aircraft for deployment in the very near future.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus KC-30, seen earlier this year at Eindhoven, the Netherlands, during the aftermath of the MH17 tragedy. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus KC-30, seen earlier this year at Eindhoven, the Netherlands, during the aftermath of the MH17 tragedy. (Image © Elmer van Hest)