ADF operations in Iraq: RAAF plans and leads attacks on ISIL
5 November 2014
Australian Defence Force support to coalition air operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have continued at high tempo.
Since September, the Australian Air Task Group (ATG) has flown 144 sorties providing close air support and air interdiction for the Iraqi Security Forces as well as deliberate and dynamic targeting of ISIL command and control facilities, military equipment, transport vehicles, as well as logistics and training compounds.
The Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, said the ATG had been operating at high tempo for the past month, contributing to the degradation of ISIL capability.
“Kinetic strike operations provided by coalition aircraft in support of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are slowing ISIL’s progress. While some areas in the west and north are being contested by ISIL, with gains and losses by ISF and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, ISIL capability continues to be hit hard,” he said
In October, ATG F/A-18F strike aircraft used 25- 500lb laser and GPS guided weapons, damaging and destroying a large number of ISIL targets. To date, coalition strike operations in Iraq total 437.
In a first for the ATG, Royal Australian Air Force personnel have planned and led attacks against ISIL targets in Iraq.
The Director General Air Operations, Air Commodore Joe Iervasi, said the ATG had risen to the challenge in coordinating a large number of fighter aircraft from several nations.
“Responsibility to lead a large multi-national force conducting a strike mission in Iraq is recognition of the exceptional skills and professionalism of Australia’s ATG personnel,” AIRCDRE Iervasi said.
“The mission was a great success. Every weapon was on-time, and on-target. Key ISIL facilities used to mount attacks on the people of Iraq were destroyed.
“I remain absolutely confident in the skill and professionalism of the whole team; Australia should be proud of its Air Force personnel,” he said.
Australia’s ATG comprises some 400 personnel, six F/A-18F Super Hornets fighter aircraft, one E-7A Wedgetail command and control aircraft and one KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport refuelling aircraft.
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Defence imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20142874
Vision will be fed to the Parliamentary Press Gallery later today.
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