Defence says the accelerated airlift of Australian military assistance for the Government of Ukraine has continued this week with the latest load of heavy supplies being transported by Ukrainian-based cargo aviation company Antonov Airlines.
CAPTION: An Australian Government-donated Bushmaster protected mobility vehicle bound for Ukraine is loaded onto an Antonov AN-124 cargo aircraft at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland. Story by Lucy Benjamin. Photo by Corporal Jesse Kane.
The flight departed RAAF Base Amberley on May 5, bound for Europe with M777 howitzers and Australian-built Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles on board.
This latest airlift follows the Australian Government announcements on the gifting of 20 Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles, including 14 with Protected Weapon Systems and two ambulance variants, and six M777 howitzers with ammunition to aid the Government of Ukraine’s response to Russia’s unrelenting and illegal aggression.
Australia has also contributed anti-armour weapons and ammunition, military equipment, combat rations, medical supplies and financial contributions to NATO’s trust for Ukraine.
Australia’s total military assistance contribution, to date, is over $225 million (AUD) and Defence is working with allies and partners to deliver this military assistance to the Government of Ukraine.
For operational security reasons Defence is not providing details around when this assistance is being provided.
Head of Military Strategic Commitments, Air Vice-Marshal Robert Chipman, said the rapid response to the Government of Ukraine’s request for material support was only achievable through the close coordination between key divisions and groups under the defence umbrella.
“The efforts of the Australian Defence Export Office, Defence Export Controls, International Policy Division, CASG, Thales and our Defence personnel to prepare and airlift assistance, including the Bushmasters and M777 Howitzers, in a short-time, exemplifies our nation’s commitment to meet the support requirements promised to President Zelenskyy and the Government of Ukraine,” Air Vice Marshal Chipman said.
“Added to this, is the remarkable work of those at the International Donor Coordination Centre in Germany who have ensured assistance from Australia and other nations is being delivered quickly to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”
The AN-124 cargo aircraft is one of the largest commercially-produced aircraft in the world and is routinely used by Australia and its partners to move oversize or large consignments of military supplies.
President Zelenskyy requested the Bushmasters on 31 March.