? The Royal Australian Air Force dispatched aircraft and personnel to the Middle East to support the US-led international effort against ISIS terrorists in Iraq, announced the Australian defense ministry. The main contingent of personnel and aircraft departed on Sept. 21 from bases in Amberley and Williamtown. It included F/A-18Fs, a KC-30A tanker, and an E-7A airborne early warning aircraft, according to the defense ministry’s release on that same day. RAAF Air Marshal Geoff Brown said the air force completed the deployment in a very short window of time after the Australian government recently decided to contribute to international efforts to disrupt and degrade ISIS, which controls sizable swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. The Australian Defense Force said it is sending some 600 personnel in total to the Middle East, to contribute to the effort.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.