Australia’s Air Task Group has clocked up 100 days and 3500 hours of combat operations as part of international efforts to disrupt and degrade Daesh, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Since October, the Air Task Group has conducted regular combat and support missions over Iraq as well as assisting Coalition operations.
Current Commander of the Air Task Group, Air Commodore Glen Braz said Australia had made a key, valuable contribution to the coalition air campaign.
“We have helped the Iraqi ground forces halt Daesh’s advance and Coalition air forces continue to apply relentless pressure,” Air Commodore Braz said.
Over the past 100 days, Australian crews led a multi-national air strike that destroyed a Daesh bomb factory. They uncovered a complex bunker system which they later attacked. The Australian ATG also disrupted Daesh’s attempts to divert water from major dams and ensured water flowed to where it was needed.
In addition to combat air patrols, Australia’s Super Hornets have provided air support to Iraqi Security Forces in their battle to maintain control of major infrastructure and key facilities across the country.
More recently, the Air Task Group directly supported Kurdish ground forces as they seized key territory and liberated the Yazidi people trapped on Mount Sinjar.
“Importantly, Australia’s Air Task Group’s contribution extends beyond air strikes.” Air Commodore Braz said.
“The Australian KC-30A tanker aircraft has been a crucial force multiplier as it allows combat aircraft to remain over the combat zone through air-to-air refueling.”
The versatile Aussie tanker regularly refuels Coalition as well as Australian aircraft.”
Another quiet achiever, the Australian E-7A ‘Wedgetail’ Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft has responsibility for the command and control of all Coalition aircraft in a ‘battle management area’ that covers the majority of the airspace above Iraq.
The E-7A Wedgetail crews regularly manage over 80 combat aircraft during a single mission and have conducted record-breaking endurance sorties for their aircraft type.
Air Commodore Braz said the Royal Australian Air Force’s ability to deploy rapidly demonstrated Australian air power’s strategic reach and effectiveness.
“To deploy assets across the globe and establish an integrated Air Task Group which included strike, air-to-air refuelling and command and control capabilities is remarkable.”
“To then commence complex missions within nine days and combat operations shortly after is testament to our people and their training” Air Commodore Braz said.
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Binskin congratulated the Air Task Group's first rotation on their contribution during his recent visit to the Middle East.
Air Commodore Braz took over command of the Air Task Group from Air Commodore Steve Roberton on 5 January.
Our contribution over the past 100 days:
- Total targets destroyed – 61;
- The KC-30A fuel offload - almost 4000 tonnes during this rotation - 4.7 Megalitres;
- Up to 80 combat aircraft controlled each mission by the E-7A Wedgetail;
- More than 3500 hours flown;
- Longest Australian combat F/A-18F Super Hornet sortie at 10 hours 24 minutes;
- At 16.3 hours, Australia’s E-7A Wedgetail recently made history for the longest Australian command and control air mission in a war zone.
Air Task Group
- Approx 400 personnel;
- 6 F/A-18F Super Hornet multi-role combat aircraft;
- 1 E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft;
- 1 KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft.