Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced that a Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail and about 100 aviators will be deployed to Germany to provide air cover for military and humanitarian movements in and out of Ukraine.
FILE PHOTO: A No. 2 Squadron E-7A Wedgetail on a training sortie. Photo by Corporal Shannon McCarthy.
Mr Albanese said Australia was steadfast in supporting Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s illegal and immoral invasion.
“Ensuring Ukraine can receive international assistance is a crucial part of that,” Mr Albanese said.
“The Australian Defence Force will deploy a Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail aircraft to Germany for approximately six months from October to help protect a vital gateway of international humanitarian and military assistance to Ukraine.
“This deployment includes up to 100 crew and support personnel.
“The deployment of the E-7A Wedgetail will integrate with the efforts of our partners, including the United States, and support the multi-layered protections in place for assistance into Ukraine.
“The aircraft will provide early warning in the event of any threats outside of Ukraine against the gateway for humanitarian and military assistance.”
Prime Minister Albanese said ADF personnel or assets would not enter Ukraine throughout this deployment and the aircraft would not be involved in the current conflict in Ukraine.
“The E-7A will operate outside of Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian airspace.”
Minister for Defence Richard Marles said the deployment of the E-7A Wedgetail as an additional early warning capability would help ensure that vital support flowing to Ukraine by the international community was protected.
“Australia is committed to ensuring Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity prevails against Russia’s assault on the rules-based order.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m not sure how I feel about this deployment. It’s one thing to send weapons, ammo, vehicles and equipment – which I support. But this is getting just a bit too close to direct involvement. For me, passing on field-craft expertise to front-line fighters is OK from the relative safety of England. But this is much more. This feels to me like Australia sliding closer and closer towards direct involvement in another proxy war without proper debate or consultation. Your thoughts in the comments section below…