The Australian Department of Defence has announced that the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) E-7A Wedgetail and KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft completed Middle East mission.
The aircraft will return to Australia after a year-long deployment as a part of Air Task Group 630. The platforms carried out airborne command and control and air-to-air refuelling.
Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “Australia is a strong and consistent contributor to the coalition and has been engaged since 2014 as part of our global responsibility to support peace and security operations.
“Since the start of the threat posed by Daesh to peace and stability in Iraq, the coalition has liberated nearly 110,000km² and around 7.7 million Iraqis are free from Daesh oppression.
“As the year-long deployment comes to an end, I commend the crews, personnel and supporting Defence staff for their dedication, resilience and ongoing professionalism, as we work with our global Coalition partners.”
Joint Task Force 633 commander major general Susan Coyle added that the deployment of the aircraft offered important capabilities to the region’s Coalition forces.
Coyle said: “We have been able to provide increased situational awareness across the battlespace and provide air-to-air refuelling to enable coalition aircraft to continue the fight against Daesh.
“Ongoing support for the coalition continues through Australian Defence Force personnel embedded in the coalition headquarters in the Middle East.”
The return journey of the aircraft, aircrew and support staff is expected to start in the coming days.
Following their return, personnel will undergo 14-day isolation to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.
Earlier this week, a A$1.1bn ($800m) upgrade project officially started at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Tindal.