The Royal Australian Air Force’s air combat element of the Air Task Group (ATG) deployed to support the effort to defeat ISIS, returned home to Amberley on January 24.
The return of the six Super Hornets from Al Minhad AB in the UAE follows the December 22 announcement by Defence Minister Marise Payne that RAAF air combat operations against ISIS would end. The KC-30A MRTT air-to-air refuelling and E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C elements of the ATG will remain to support ongoing coalition operations.
The ATG was deployed in September 2014 and commenced operations soon after. In the 40 months they were deployed, the Super Hornets of 1SQN and classic Hornets of 3SQN, 75SQN and 77SQN have conducted nine operational rotations and flown more than 21,700 operational hours.
“The effort to establish the Air Task Group and then to sustain this mission was outstanding and RAAF’s men and women have again proven themselves to be a professional fighting force,” Minister Payne said at a welcome home ceremony.
“These men and women have demonstrated the Australian Defence Force’s finest qualities in assisting our Coalition partners in the fight to defeat Daesh. I also acknowledge the valuable support our Air Force families provided while our serving members were deployed so far from home.”
Alongside the families of the returning crews and support personnel to greet the returning crews were Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Chief of Defence Force ACM Mark Binskin, and Chief of Air Force AIRMSHL Leo Davies.