The E-7A Wedgetail and KC-30A tanker transport deployed to the Middle East as part of the RAAF’s Air Task Group flew their first operational missions over Iraq on October 1.
“The E-7A conducted a support mission over central Iraq while the KC-30A conducted a support flight over Iraq,” the Department of Defence said in a statement.
“The missions were completed without incident and the aircraft have returned safely to Australia’s main support base in the Middle East.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament on Wednesday that air strikes by the eight RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets also deployed to the Middle East as part of the Air Task Group had not yet been approved.
“Australian air strikes await final clearances from the Iraqi government and a further decision by our own,” he said.
In the meantime, the RAAF Super Hornets have been conducting training flights in the region, to “ensure … that we are no-kidding ready to go should the government make that decision to commence operations here in the Middle East,” RAAF Air Task Group commander Air Commodore Steve Roberton said in a video statement earlier in the week.
Training flights were due to commence on September 28 “to co-ordinate and fit in to the command and control structure of this area that’s US-led,” AIRCDRE Roberton said.
“These missions will take us right through the Middle East Area of Operations.”
The RAAF Air Task Group is based at Al Minhad, near Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.