Guardian a blessing in the skies

Australia’s watchful ‘guardian-from-above’, the E-7A Wedgetail, has returned home after providing critical early-warning protection for the military and humanitarian logistic hubs supporting Ukraine.

CAPTIONThe crew of RAAF’s E-7A Wedgetail meet Australia’s High Commissioner, Stephen Smith, at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland after a six month European deployment as part of Operation Kudu. Story by Lieutenant Commander John Thompson.

Around 100 RAAF crew and support personnel operated out of Ramstein Air Base in Germany during the six-month deployment, in response to a request for help from the US.

Wing Commander Darrin Lindsay led the operation and said it was an effective deployment.

“We acted as a back stop – we provided awareness of what was happening, detecting any threats to the military and humanitarian logistics hubs.  If we observed anything unusual we would advise those on the ground who could then provide the necessary protection of those hubs,” Wing Commander Lindsay said.

On its journey back to Australia the aircraft spent a few days at RAF Base Lossiemouth in Scotland.

The crew was met by the High Commissioner to London, Stephen Smith, and the Head of Australian Defence Staff in London Brigadier Grant Mason.

CAPTIONHead of Australian Defence Staff – London, Brigadier Grant Mason, right, meets some of Australia’s E-7A Wedgetail crew at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

Mr Smith said the deployment has been an important one for Australia.

“This has been a substantial contribution to the mission in Ukraine – we have successfully demonstrated our ability to provide vital protection of the logistic hubs in support for Ukraine,” he said.

The aircraft flew more than 250 hours with missions averaging around five hours each.

Brigadier Grant Mason said the mission was complex.

“The RAAF contingent has done an outstanding job.  They have demonstrated a real deterrence effect in protecting these critical logistics hubs.

“The mission has also highlighted the contribution that we can make and have made to our partners in maintaining the rules based global order,” Brigadier Mason said.

The Wedgetail is operated by 2 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown.  It is one of the most advanced airborne early-warning systems in the world.





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