The Australian public has started an online petition to “Send idle unwanted Australia F18s to Ukraine” in a Change.org campaign to aid the war-torn European country.
To continue reading the rest of this article, please log in.
Create free account to get unlimited news articles and more!
More than 2,600 signatures have been added to the petition, which was started on 25 August and is addressed to Australian Minister for Defence and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles.
The Australian Defence Force withdrew the legacy Hornets and their support equipment from January 2019 to December 2021, however recently, Australian Federal politicians ducked around the question of sending F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighter aircraft to Ukraine, citing perceived technical and logistical problems.
International and Australian commentators have repeatedly pressured for the Classic Hornets to be donated as military aid to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Signing participants for the petition are also being encouraged to email the Deputy PM and direct him to make the transfer to fulfil the pledge.
“When it comes to 40-plus retired FA18s that could be used to defend a democratic nation under a brutal and unjustified genocidal attack, we just let the aircraft sit there and rust. Australia can do more; it can do better,” said petition creator Alan Griffin from Colo Vale in Australia.
“In one go, Australia could measurably increase Ukraine’s air force strike capacity. Even if it fielded 24–36 F18s out of the 46 lying around, it would still be adding at minimum another two to three squadrons of aircraft at a time when Ukrainians at the front and in the rear are dying unnecessarily due to a lack of air cover.”
Earlier this year, the Australian government pledged an additional $110 million assistance package to Ukraine but stopped short of offering main battle tanks or fast attack aircraft.
That package included 28 M113 armoured personnel carriers, 14 special operations vehicles, 28 MAN 40M medium trucks, 14 trailers and supplies of 105mm artillery ammunition.
“The central issue here is that the democracies of the world, including Australia, cannot claim to be truly standing by Ukraine in its existential war unless they do everything in their power to bring that war to a rapid end,” Griffin said.
“Airpower is a desperately needed element in Ukraine’s defence against this invasion, and it’s available in the form of F18s slowly rusting away in Guam and Australia as the war continues.
“As a former member of the ADF, I think I can say that current and former fighter combat instructors and ground crew would gladly volunteer to train their Ukrainian counterparts in the use of these platforms and give them a much-needed boost to their airpower.
“It’s not a big ask when the consequences of doing nothing are so great. Not only for Ukraine but any country whose sovereignty is threatened by a larger neighbour. Australia needs to step up here, support this petition to send the jets, and encourage Australia to send them now.”
The Australian government previously announced intentions to sell up to 46 McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornets to former Air USA, now RAVN Aerospace US-based defence contractor in March 2020.