The liberation of Iraq from Daesh in December 2017 followed a sustained Iraqi and Global Coalition campaign spanning more than three years. Australia contributed to the Iraqi Security Forces’ success by supporting their campaign through direct air support, advice and assistance, and training Iraqi Army and law enforcement units.
Operation OKRA was Australia’s commitment to the US-led Combined Joint Task Force—Operation Inherent Resolve, a global coalition committed to eliminating the terrorist group Daesh. The ADF contribution to this operation included an Air Task Group, Task Group Taji, Special Operations Task Group and ADF personnel embedded with coalition forces.
Task Group Taji trained more than 35,000 Iraqi Security Forces, working with them before and after each offensive, helping the Iraqis prepare for the next battle and apply the lessons learned from the last. The Australian-trained Iraqi Security Forces made a vital contribution to the decisive operations in Mosul, the Euphrates River Valley, Fallujah, and Ramadi.
Special Operations Task Group personnel trained, advised and assisted the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service as it fought the battle for Mosul, including ADF combat medics treating and evacuating wounded members of the Counter Terrorism Service and Iraqi Security Forces. Overhead, the Air Task Group maintained close air support, destroying Daesh targets and protecting Iraqi forces.
The Air Task Group, initially comprising F/A-18 Hornets, an E-7A Wedgetail and KC-30A multi-role tanker transport aircraft, deployed at short notice in October 2014.
The F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet aircraft flew around 2,800 sorties releasing 2,395 precision guided munitions during their three-year deployment. In January 2018, Australia’s remaining Super Hornets returned home, marking the end of Australia’s successful air strike operations in Iraq and Syria. Australia’s E-7A Wedgetail and KC-30A tanker aircraft continue to support counter-Daesh Coalition operations on a rotational basis.
Australia remains committed to training and assisting the Iraqi Security Forces to ensure that Iraq consolidates the gains made against Daesh for a secure and safe future for all Iraqis.