RAAF Hornet and Super Hornet fighters have now dropped more than 400 precision-guided bombs on Islamic State (Daesh) targets in Iraq, an update released by the Department of Defence on Tuesday details.
According to the update RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets and F/A-18A ‘classic’ Hornets have now flown over 5,000 flight hours on Operation Okra, the ADF’s contribution to the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State in Iraq. The RAAF deployed six 1 Squadron Super Hornets to the Middle East (operating from Al Minhad Air Base in the UAE) in September 2014. They were replaced by six 75 Squadron operated F/A-18A Hornets in March.
“With more than 400 precision weapons released by Australian strike aircraft onto Daesh targets, since Operation Okra began, we are giving the Iraqi forces the best possible support against Daesh,” Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown said in the statement.
The RAAF’s Okra Air Task Group also includes a 33 Squadron KC-30A tanker transport and a 2 Squadron E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft. The Wedgetail has now flown 100 operational sorties, while the KC-30 has offloaded 25 million pounds of fuel.
“To provide some perspective to the enormity of the fuel volume that the KC-30A has offloaded, 25 million pounds equates to some 14 million litres of fuel. That is a complete refuel for more than 1,500 F/A-18A Hornets, achieved over Iraq by a single RAAF KC-30A aircraft,” CAF said.
“The E-7A Wedgetail routinely controls more than 60 aircraft in the battle space during a single mission, and when multiplied by 100 sorties it makes for a huge number of aircraft being controlled by the Australian command and control platform throughout the operation.”