Australian air strikes support liberation of Mount Sinjar
22 December 2014
Air strikes by the Australian Air Task Group’s F/A-18F Super Hornets over the past week have assisted Kurdish ground forces free Yezidi people trapped on Mount Sinjar.
As part of multi-national Coalition airstrikes, the Super Hornets participated in pre-planned attacks against ISIL fighting positions, heavy weaponry, vehicles and militants.
Commander of Australia’s Air Task Group, Air Commodore Roberton said the air strikes had weakened ISIL forces and degraded supply lines prior to the ground attack.
“With other Coalition aircraft, our Super Hornets maintained combat air patrols above the advancing friendly ground forces,” AIRCDRE Roberton said.
“The aircrews monitored the ground situation closely, rapidly responding to any ambushes, roadside bombs or counter attacks from ISIL.”
On several occasions the Super Hornets conducted immediate air strikes in support of the ground forces facing counter attacks.
Previously Australia has supported those stranded on Mount Sinjar with five humanitarian aid airdrops, the first occurring in August of this year.
AIRCDRE Roberton said mass killings by ISIL militants, the enslavement of the Yezidi women and children, and the worsening humanitarian disaster unfolding on Mount Sinjar have resonated across the world.
“It’s hard not to be moved by the plight of these people,” he said.
AIRCDRE Roberton said airpower had tipped the balance in the favour of Kurdish forces.
“I am incredibly proud of the contribution the women and men of Australia’s Air Task Group have made to support the campaign by the security forces on the ground.”
Australia’s E-7A Wedgetail aircraft also had a key role in providing command and control to Coalition aircraft involved in what may be an important moment in restoring security to the north of Iraq.
The Australian KC-30A tanker aircraft has also contributed, refuelling the Australian Super Hornets and other Coalition strike aircraft, allowing them to stay on-call to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces for as long as possible while they took the fight to ISIL.
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