RAAF Air Task Group marks 100 days of combat over Iraq

written by australianaviation.com.au | January 19, 2015
Operation OKRA
Four of the six RAAF Super Hornets on deployment with Operation OKRA. (Defence)

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Air Task Group (ATG) has clocked up 3,500 hours of combat operations during which it has destroyed 61 targets after 100 days of playing its part in the international effort to disrupt and degrade the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The ATG has been conducting regular combat and support missions over Iraq since October, as well as assisting with coalition operations.

“We have helped the Iraqi ground forces halt [the ISIL] advance, and coalition air forces continue to apply relentless pressure,” Commander of the Air Task Group Air Commodore Glen Braz stated on January 15.

Over the past 100 days, Australian crews have led a multinational airstrike that destroyed an ISIL bomb factory and uncovered a complex bunker system that they later attacked, according to Defence. The ATG also disrupted attempts to divert water from major dams and ensured that water flowed to where it was needed.

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In addition to conducting combat air patrols, Australian F/A-18F Super Hornets have provided air support for the Iraqi security forces as they have fought to maintain control of infrastructure and key facilities across the country. And the ATG recently provided direct support for Kurdish ground forces.

Air Commodore Braz pointed out that the contribution under Operation OKRA extends beyond airstrikes, with the KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft offloading almost 4,000 tonnes of fuel during this rotation.

“The Australian KC-30A tanker aircraft has been a crucial force-multiplier as it allows combat aircraft to remain over the combat zone through air-to-air refuelling,” he said. “The versatile Aussie tanker regularly refuels coalition as well as Australian aircraft.”

The E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platform has responsibility for the command and control of all coalition aircraft within a battle management area that covers most of the airspace above Iraq.

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Crews regularly manage more than 80 combat aircraft during a single mission, and the Wedgetail recently achieved the longest-ever Australian command-and-control air mission in a war zone at 16.3 hours, Defence said.

Operation OKRA
The KC-30 refuels RAAF Super Hornets. (Defence)

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RAAF Air Task Group marks 100 days of combat over Iraq Comment

  • magnificent aircraft doing a magnificent job – I had the pleasure of seeing the first F-111 arrive at Amberley, and watching the first Super Hornets arrive too
    one of the highlights of my aviation-tragic “career” was the walk around of a Super Hornet at Amberley, along with some ex-Spitfire pilots – you should have seen the looks on their faces !!!
    up close, the Rhino is so much smaller than the big and beautiful Pig, but obviously a magnificent weapon system
    to Beefcake (the RIO I spoke to on the day), g’day m8, fly safe – my offer of a rear seat flight in my Drifter still stands – if you’re game 😉
    BP

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