WE’RE OFF: Air Force personnel board a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17A Globemaster strategic transport aircraft, destined for the Middle East-based RAAF Air Task Group.
WE’RE OFF: Air Force personnel board a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17A Globemaster strategic transport aircraft, destined for the Middle East-based RAAF Air Task Group. CPL Ben Dempster

Our RAAF forces ready for air strikes in Iraq

FORCES from RAAF Base Amberley in the Middle East are ready and willing to start air strikes as soon as the Australian Government's command is given.

Federal Cabinet met yesterday and was expected to give the green light this week to air strikes in Iraq against ISIL.

The aircraft from Amberley and their crew have been conducting training exercises in the Middle East to familiarise with local conditions.

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The Air Task Group in the Middle East includes about 400 Royal Australian Air Force personnel as well as F/A-18F Super Hornets and a KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft from Amberley and an E7-A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft.

This deployment is in addition to the RAAF C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster aircraft that were already providing humanitarian and logistic support to Iraq.

The Air Task Group is prepared to respond to future government decisions regarding a possible contribution to international operations to combat ISIL.

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Australia's contribution to international efforts is being closely co-ordinated with the Iraqi government, Gulf nations, and a broad coalition of international partners.

Air Commodore Steve Roberton said the forces had been doing training flights to prepare for combat operations.

"We've gotten over here within days and we're ready for combat operations," Air Commodore Roberton said.

Late last week the Australian Defence Force completed its fifth air shipment of military stores to Erbil in Northern Iraq.

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A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules flying from Plovdiv, Bulgaria completed the delivery.

The delivery of 11.5 tonnes of weapons and associated stores was inspected and cleared by Iraqi officials in Baghdad.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott flew in to RAAF Base Amberley 12 days ago to farewell Ipswich personnel ready to take on ISIL.

Mr Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten visited our base and the RAAF Base Williamtown to send off personnel heading to the Middle East.



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