• Defence

An RAAF E-7A Wedgetail aircraft will commence its return to Australia this week after a six-month deployment on Operation Kudu.

The E-7A aircraft supported the multinational effort to provide early warning for potential threats from Russia outside of Ukraine.

In providing a rapid response option, the E-7A Wedgetail contingent flew around 250 hours with missions averaging five hours in the air. Up to 100 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel deployed to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, in support of the E-7A’s mission.

Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton, applauded the ADF personnel’s work supporting the protection of vital gateway of international humanitarian and military assistance into Ukraine.

“The deployment was a tangible demonstration of Australia’s commitment to supporting our partners in upholding the global rules-based order,” LTGEN Bilton said.

Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Robert Chipman, said the E-7A Wedgetail was one of the most advanced airborne early warning systems in the world and was well-suited to the task of providing support to the vital gateway.

“I commend our people on their hard work and commitment, channelling our ethos of being a ready, resilient and resourceful force,” AIRMSHL Chipman said.

“I wish all our returning personnel a safe journey home and an enjoyable time reconnecting with family and friends.”

Australia’s military assistance to Ukraine will continue under the expanded training element of Operation Kudu, which comprises up to 90 personnel providing vital training to Armed Forces of Ukraine personnel in the UK throughout 2024.

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