Subscribe Free
in Defence / Features

Aussies pitch in to fight the terror threat

Posted 19 May 2020 · Add Comment

Australia has been heavily involved in combatting the recent terrorist threats in the Middle East. Dave Oliver has been finding out more.

Operation Okra is the Australian Defence Force (ADF) contribution to the military intervention against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) terrorist threat.
As part of Joint Task Force 633 in the Middle East, the operation began in August 2014, and its initial stated aim was to combat ISIL threats in Iraq.
Australia’s contribution is being closely coordinated with the Iraqi Government, Gulf nations and a broad coalition of international partners.
In September 2015, the Australian airstrikes were extended to Syria.
Around 400 ADF personnel work under Operation Accordion to support operations, including Operation Okra, as well as personnel in the Australian/New Zealand-led task group Taji, the special operations task group (SOTG) and embedded personnel in the combined joint task force Operation Inherent Resolve, established by the US-led international coalition against ISIL.
In late-September 2014, an air task group (ATG) of personnel from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) was deployed to Al Minhad Air Base in the UAE.
The initial commitment included six F/A-18F Super Hornet strike aircraft from No1 Squadron, based at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland, alternating with FA/18A Hornets of No 75 Squadron from RAAF Tindal, Northern Territory. There was also one E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft from No 2 Squadron from RAAF Williamtown, New South Wales, and one KC-30A multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) belonging to No 33 Squadron from RAAF Base Amberley.
In December 2017, the ADF announced that the strike aircraft attached to the ATG would cease air combat operations and return to Australia in January 2018, although the KC-30A and Wedgetail would remain in support of ongoing coalition operations. The final RAAF strike mission was flown by two Super Hornets on January 14 2018, by which time they had conducted more than 2,700 sorties.
RAAF E-7As and KC-30As have continued to carry out four-month deployments as part of Operation Okra. The E-7A plays a critical role as it contributes to the control and tactical movement of aircraft over Iraq and Syria to ensure safety and mission success, while the KC-30As carry out air-to-air refuelling operations with coalition fighter aircraft involved in Operation Inherent Resolve. These include the Lockheed Martin F-16 and F-35, as well as all variants of the F/A-18.
In August 2019, Australia also became the latest country to join the US-led international maritime security construct (IMSC) in the Gulf, which includes Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, to enhance the safety of shipping assets passing through the region.
Tensions had escalated after a spate of incidents. In June 2019, Iran allegedly downed a US Air Force RQ-4A Global Hawk high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the Gulf for allegedly breaching international aviation rules.
The following month, an Iranian vessel was seized by Gibraltar over sanction violations. In retaliation, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized a British-flagged oil tanker.
To ensure the safety of ships transiting the key shipping route, the UK Government joined the US Navy in the security mission and also invited European allies to join the alliance to put up a strong force to ward off threats from Iran.
As part of the mission, Australia deployed an RAAF P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), operated by No11 Squadron from RAAF Base Edinburgh, South Australia to the Middle East for a month by the end of 2019, and a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) frigate in January 2020 on a six-month deployment.
Australia Defence Minister, Linda Reynolds, said: “This is the first time the P-8A aircraft has operated in the Middle East and its deployment will support freedom of navigation in the region, which is a fundamental right of all states under international law.”
This was not the first time that Australia had deployed MPAs to the Middle East. A detachment of RAAF AP-3C Orions was deployed between 2003 and 2012, conducting maritime surveillance patrols over the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea in support of coalition warships and boarding parties. They also conducted extensive overland flights of Iraq on ISR missions, and supporting counter-piracy operations in Somalia.

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Latest News

DFS completes cargo conversion of Falcon 900B to help deliver masks to North Africa

Dassault Falcon Service (DFS) has completed the conversion of a Falcon 900B from passenger configuration to full cargo in record time.

Middle Eastern carriers see air cargo capacity decline in April

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets in April showing that demand dropped 27.7% compared to the same period in 2019 - the sharpest fall ever recorded.

AFRAA: North African airlines see impact of COVID-19

AFRAA has released an impact assessment analysis showing a 90.3% year on year passenger traffic reduction for the month of May; recovery is expected to start from Q3 2020 with domestic flights, followed by regional and intercontinental

High-speed Wi-Fi to business jet passengers in Turkey

Honeywell and MNG Jet have installed Honeywell’s JetWave satellite communications hardware on an MNG Jet Bombardier Challenger 605 to Turkey.

Muhiddin's taste for the big AMAC

Swiss-based AMAC Aerospace is bolstering its presence in the MENA region. Vincent Chappard talked to group executive chairman and CEO, Kadri Muhiddin, to find out more.

No stop to missile activity across Saudi borders

While Covid 19 might have stopped flights it did not put any halt on the conflict between Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces and the Yemeni Houthi.

AVMENA20 SK14191020
See us at
MAPS2020 BT1102171120AVMENA20 BT1309100620SaudiAirshow21BT2011180221