P-3C Orion aircraft to be deployed in war against terrorism
Two Royal Australian Air Force P-3C maritime patrol aircraft will be deployed at the beginning of next year to support
the international coalition against terrorism, Defence Minister Robert Hill announced today.
"The Australian Government committed aircraft from the P-3C fleet to Operation Slipper when we announced our
contribution to the war on terrorism in October last year," Senator Hill said.
"However, they were not required initially and we used the opportunity to undertake important upgrade work.
"Our coalition partners have now requested that the Australian aircraft be deployed to conduct maritime patrol and
missions in the Persian Gulf in support of aircraft carrier operations, maritime interdiction and al Qaeda and Taliban
leadership interdiction operations."
Senator Hill said Cabinet’s decision on the eve of the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United
States demonstrated the Government’s commitment to the war against terrorism was unwavering.
"Australian Special Forces soldiers remain in Afghanistan, ensuring al Qaeda and Taliban remnants do not regroup,"
Senator Hill said.
"Our Navy is continuing to undertake maritime interception operations in the Persian Gulf to enforce United Nations
sanctions. The Air Force is operating two 707 air-to-air refuelling aircraft out of Kyrgyzstan; this six-month
deployment will end soon.
"The Government has assessed the size and nature of the Australian Defence Force contribution to the war on terrorism
and Cabinet determined yesterday that it is in the national interest to continue to support coalition operations while
terrorism remains a threat to peace-loving nations. The deployment of the P-3C maritime patrol aircraft will ensure that
Australia continues to make a valuable and effective contribution."