Australian Air Force completed its first offensive in Syria, to halt the march of ISIS. Surprisingly they preferred to deploy just two F/A-18A Super Hornets and there wasn’t a specific target they tackled.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) successfully completed its first offensive against the ISIS in Syria. Apparently, the two F/A-18A Hornets had a dossier that included a “free hunt” mission. The two fighter jets returned to their base after flying over the eastern part of the country, which is majority controlled by Islamic State Caliphate. The mission was supported by the RAAF’s E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft that has been maintaining constant communication with anti-ISIS coalition’s air operations center and KC-30A multi-role air-to-air refueling aerial tanker, reported Yahoo!.
Armament fitters make final checks to ordinance loaded on to a RAAF F/A-18A Hornet aircraft. Operation OKRA pic.twitter.com/xB8psn98PS— Michael B Cooper (@Cranky_Cooper) August 4, 2015
What’s odd about the mission is the fact that Australia had joined the anti-ISIS coalition about a year ago, but chose to fly its advanced fighter jets in the enemy’s stronghold only this week. The air force released a statement that read as follows.
“The Australian Air Task Group completed its first operational mission in Syria overnight, returning to base in the Middle East without incident. The mission provided on-call interdiction and dynamic targeting support as part of the international coalition’s effort to disrupt and degrade Daesh (ISIS).
“Earlier this week Australia’s National Security Committee agreed to extend the RAAF combat operations beyond Iraq, where RAAF has been operating throughout the last year as part of the US-led anti-ISIS international coalition. The Australian Defense Force’s operation in Iraq and Syria has been dubbed Operation OKRA.”
What’s even more surprising is the fact that the Australian fighter jets, who were prepared for any “short notice high priority tasking which could include surveillance and weapons release,” didn’t fire a single missile and hence didn’t destroy any ISIS stronghold. However, that didn’t stop Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was recently spotted laughing about the impact of climate change, from extolling the virtues of the Australian Air Force and the sole mission inside Syria.
“We cannot defeat Daesh in Iraq without defeating Daesh in Syria too,” he said
Fortunately, Australia has confirmed that this mission was only the beginning and its air force missions and will, “continue to plan and conduct air strikes against Daesh as part of the coalition effort to disrupt and degrade the group’s stronghold,” read the statement.
Australia has deployed eight F/A18 Super Hornet jets, one E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, one KC-30A multi-role aerial tanker and transport aircraft, and 400 Air Force personnel to support air deployment, as well as 200 military officers, including a Special Forces team, to operate as “military advisers” to Kurdish Peshmerga. Besides such a formidable force near Syria, the RAAF also has a C-17 Globemaster and C130 Hercules, both heavy-duty transport planes, fueled and ready at al-Minhad Air Base south of Dubai, in the UAE, reported RT.
With ISIS showing little signs of relenting, will Australia step-up its offensive in the upcoming missions?
[Image Credit | Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images]