The bombs Australia will drop on ISIS

//The bombs Australia will drop on ISIS

The bombs Australia will drop on ISIS

By | 2014-10-06T11:52:56+00:00 October 6th, 2014|World|0 Comments


Australia’s first combat mission over Iraq has provided air cover for local forces but dropped no bombs.






THESE are some of the bombs Australia has for the Islamic State scourge.


Transported to the Middle East in parts, the RAAF “gunnies”, or armament technicians, fit the warheads under the wings prior to each combat mission.

The first mission on Sunday afternoon saw two F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jets head into combat over Iraq carrying GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs.

The bombs are released free-fall from the jets, after which autonomous guidance kits, located in either in the warhead or tailfin, transform them into smart bombs and guide the weapons to their targets using GPS coordinates.

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Ready to strike ... Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Armament Technicians prepare explos

Ready to strike … Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Armament Technicians prepare explosive ordnance under the wing of a RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet in the Middle East. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied




The F/A-18Fs — from 1 Squadron in Amberley — dropped no bombs on Sunday and took to the skies again over Iraq again just after 1pm in the UAE afternoon, or 8pm last night Sydney time.

The decision not to drop a bomb could be one of the most important a pilot ever makes in this war.

Delicate work ... Leading Aircraftman Josh Lees, guided by Corporal Kim Cooper, load expl

More weapons … Royal Australian Air Force Armament Technicians load explosive ordnance onto a RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet in the Middle East. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied




Pictures of innocent Iraqis — particularly children — maimed or killed by Australian bombs would be a disaster and could reset the course of this already chaotic battle theatre.

The Australians are determined they will withdraw from making strikes even on high-value targets if it means losing the PR war on the ground.

Weapons range ... A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet Air Combat Officer pe

Weapons range … A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet Air Combat Officer performs pre-flight checks on a GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) on his aircraft. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied




Once in the skies, the Australian fighters rely on the US-led Combined Air Operations Centre in the Middle East, which decides what to target.

COAC matches targets on a daily basis with what Coalition jets are in their air and what weapons they’re carrying.

Loading up ... RAAF Armament Technicians inspect explosive ordnance prior to loading onto

Loading up … RAAF Armament Technicians inspect explosive ordnance prior to loading onto RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets in the Middle East. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied




That means if the plane is carrying a penetrating warhead and they’re looking to hit a group of fighting crossing open ground, a bomb made to destroy buildings is the wrong weapon.

In other cases, the targets may have shifted location, meaning there’s no point striking. But the most important reason for pulling out of a bombing run is avoiding killing civilian Iraqis.

Secure ... RAAF leading Aircraftmen Brad Burrows prepares explosive ordnance on an F/A-18

Secure … RAAF leading Aircraftmen Brad Burrows prepares explosive ordnance on an F/A-18F Super Hornets in the Middle East. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied




Geared up ... A RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet Air Combat Officer fits his helmet prior to the

Geared up … A RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet Air Combat Officer fits his helmet prior to the first combat mission in Iraq. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied




The assessment of whether or not to strike is determined on several levels, including from real-time video information from drones hovering over targets, and from the pilots themselves.

ATG - Middle East

Combat mission … the crew of a Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet on the taxiway. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied




Though no munitions were deployed on the first mission, Australia entered the war against ISIL when the two Super Hornet fighter took off moments apart at 2.02pm on Sunday afternoon, or 9pm AEDT.

All abord ... aircrew on a Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail aircraft prepare for

All abord … aircrew on a Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail aircraft prepare for a mission in the Middle East. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied




The jets were preceded by the RAAF’s KC-30A Multiple Transport Tanker, a converted A330 Airbus that took off at the stroke of 2pm and refuelled both jets during their almost eight-hour mission.

The RAAF’s E-7A Wedgetail early warning plane — the weird looking converted 737-300 that appears to have a blunt dorsal fin — was not used specifically to assist the Australian fighters.

Instead, the airborne platform has joined the wider Coalition assault — now involving the US, Britain, France, Australia, the Gulf States and soon Canada — in monitoring the skies over Iraq.

Fighting ISIS ... Flight Lieutenant Daniel White, a senior systems control officer in the

Fighting ISIS … Flight Lieutenant Daniel White, a senior systems control officer in the Royal Australian Air Force, prepares for a mission on a E-7A Wedgetail aircraft over the Middle East.
Source: Supplied




On Sunday, the departure coincided with the live telecast of the rugby grand final, which Australian airmen watched in a packed hall.

But the sight of the two fighters setting off low and fast out of the base made real for the 400 RAAF and 200 Special Forces in the Middle East that Australia was now formally involved in the fight against the terror forces.

Safety first ... A technician places safety tags on a RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft

Safety first … A technician places safety tags on a RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft in the Middle East after it completed its first combat mission over Iraq. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied




The F/A-18Fs are capable of carrying an array of weaponry, including AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles, GPS guided bombs and nose-mounted cannons.

Australia so far has located six F/A-18 Super Hornets in the UAE but can bring in another two if required.

Australian Special Forces are still awaiting Iraqi approval to enter Iraq to assist operations.

Prepared for war .. A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet loaded with explosi

Prepared for war .. A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet loaded with explosive ordnance departs Australia’s main base in the Middle East for its first combat mission in Iraq. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied