A pair of Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft have completed their first armed combat mission over Iraq, Defence has confirmed.
“The Super Hornets were on call to attack targets as identified [but] on this occasion the aircraft did not use their munitions, and have returned to base to disarm and prepare for future sorties,” Defence stated.
Images released by the Department of Defence show the two Super Hornets – serials A44-209 and A44-224 – armed with two GBU-12 laser-guided and two GBU-38 GPS-guided bombs and a single AIM-120 and two AIM-9X air-to-air missiles, as well as carrying the ASQ-228 ATFLIR targetting pod and three 480 US gal fuel tanks.
The strike fighters were supported by the Air Task Group’s KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft; meanwhile the E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft also flew over Iraq. The flights were completed without incident, Defence added.
As of Monday morning, the Australian Special Forces contingent was waiting for approval from the Iraqi government before starting ‘advise and assist’ operations in Iraq.