ADF support for coalition air operations in Iraq is continuing at a high tempo under Operation OKRA, with Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel drawing up plans for and leading attacks for the first time.
The Australian Air Task Group has flown 144 sorties since September, providing close air support and air interdiction for the Iraqi security forces, and undertaking “deliberate and dynamic” targeting of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Defence said on Wednesday. Targets include command-and-control facilities, military equipment, vehicles, and logistics and training compounds.
Chief of Joint Operations Vice Admiral David Johnston said that operating at such a high tempo for the past month has been helping to degrade ISIL capability.
RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft have used laser and GPS-guided weapons to damage and destroy multiple targets.
According to Air Commodore Joe Iervasi, Director General Air Operations, the Air Task Group has risen to the challenge of coordinating a significant number of fighter aircraft from several countries.
“Responsibility to lead a large multinational force conducting a strike mission in Iraq is recognition of the exceptional skills and professionalism of Australia’s ATG personnel,” he said.
“The mission was a great success; every weapon was on time and on target. Key ISIL facilities used to mount attacks on the people of Iraq were destroyed.”
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