EYE IN THE SKY: RAAF aircrew disembark after completing their first mission over Iraq.
EYE IN THE SKY: RAAF aircrew disembark after completing their first mission over Iraq. Corporal Max Bree

Amberley Super Hornets fly first combat mission in Iraq

TWO Super Hornet crews from RAAF Base Amberley completed their first armed combat mission against ISIL in the early hours of yesterday morning, returning to their base safely in the United Arab Emirates.

Chief of the Defence Force Mark Binskin said the two Australian jets were armed, but did not launch air strikes.

"2 F/A-18F completed 1st armed combat mission in Iraq. No munitions expended. Returned safely to base," he said in a brief statement on social media.

The Department of Defence yesterday said the Super Hornets' mission was to conduct action against enemy targets before they could be used against friendly forces and action against hostile ground targets in close proximity to friendly forces.

"The Super Hornets were on-call to attack targets as identified," a department spokeswoman said.

"On this occasion the aircraft did not use their munitions and have returned to base to disarm and prepare for future sorties."

The Australian Air Task Group's KC-30A multi-role tanker transport, also based at Amberley, supported the Super Hornets on the mission.

Royal Australian Air Force's E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft also flew over Iraq as part of the campaign assisting coalition operations against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

"The flights were completed without incident and all aircraft have returned safely to Australia's main support base in the Middle East," the department spokeswoman said.

Cabinet approved air combat missions on Friday. The Air Task Group includes about 400 RAAF personnel. Two hundred special forces commandos have also been deployed.

The crew of a Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet on the taxiway prior to their first combat mission in Iraq.
The crew of a Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet on the taxiway prior to their first combat mission in Iraq. SGT Andrew Eddie

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