Australia will extend the deployment of a KC-30A air-to-air refuelling aircraft to the Australian Defence Force Air Task Group and redeploy an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft. The E-7A has been deployed to the Air Task Group several times since October 2014.
These aircraft will support US-led Coalition operations until late 2020. In March of this year, we welcomed the territorial defeat of Daesh, the culmination of sustained international efforts by Coalition members and partners.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said, “As we noted at the time, Daesh continues to pose a security threat to the Middle East region and the broader international community, including through the propagation of its extreme ideology.”
Australia’s deployment of these aircraft continues our contribution to stability and recovery in Iraq, in support of members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The ISF plays a crucial role in preventing the re-emergence of Daesh in Iraq and in repelling incursions by Daesh extremists into Iraq’s sovereign territory.
To date, Australian and New Zealand Defence Force personnel have trained over 44,000 ISF personnel through the joint Task Group Taji in Iraq.
Australia’s contribution is being closely coordinated with the Iraqi government, Gulf nations and a broad coalition of international partners. About 600 ADF personnel are deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation OKRA. The operation commenced on 31 August 2014 and its initial stated aim was to combat ISIL threats in Iraq.
The original ATG deployed in September 2014 consisted of up to eight Boeing F-18F Super Hornets, a single Boeing E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft and a single Airbus KC-30 multi role tanker transport aircraft.