The Australian Defense Force has deployed a number of units from the Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Australian Navy as part of the buildup of coalition forces in the region. Royal Australian Air Force Deployed to: Persian Gulf region Units: A squadron of 14 F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft deployed on February 8, 2003, from RAAF base in Tindal, Northern Territory while three C-130 Hercules transports left from RAAF base in Richmond, New South Wales, on February 7. On April 17, Australian Defense Minister Robert Hill said most of Australia's forces, including about 250 airmen and women and support crews deployed with the Hornet squadron, would return home in May. An Air Forward Command Element responsible for coordinating air operations with coalition partners and providing national control of RAAF assets also has deployed. A small air force reconnaissance team was already in the Middle East to prepare for the F/A-18 deployments. Duties: The F/A-18 Hornet fighter is designed for both air-to-air and air-to ground missions, including air combat, close air support of ground troops and interdiction of enemy supply lines, including maritime environments. The RAAF's Hornets are based at Williamtown, New South Wales, and Tindal, Northern Territory. Australian Army The Australian Army has deployed a Special Forces Task Group to the Persian Gulf region, which includes soldiers from the units listed below. Australian Special Operations Forces In December 2002, Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced the formation of a new Special Operations Command that has equivalent status to the Australian Defense Force's Maritime, Land and Air Commands. The command will provide a joint headquarters for Australia's various special operations units, including the Special Air Services Regiment, 4th Commando Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment (Commando), Tactical Assault Groups (West) and (East), 1st Commando Regiment and the Incident Response Regiment. Special Air Service Regiment Based in Perth, the Special Air Service Regiment provides a long-range small group reconnaissance and surveillance capability. SAS elements can also conduct limited direct action offensive operations. The unit is based on the British Special Air Service unit and shares the same unit motto, "Who Dares Wins." Incident Response Regiment Australia's Incident Response Regiment was created to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive incidents domestically and overseas with Australian forces. The IRR includes intelligence, signals, medical, nursing, ordnance, transport, electrical and mechanical engineers, scientists and catering officers. IRR personnel are trained to perform searches with detection equipment and dogs, disarm and dispose of a device, decontaminate and treat victims and the exposed area and analyze any hazardous materials found. Australia developed significant chemical, biological and radiological capabilities as part of its preparation for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and improved them after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The IRR is designed as a defensive unit and has no offensive capability. Commandos Based at Holsworthy, Sydney, the 4th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment (Commando) offers military commanders large-group strike, offensive and counterterrorism capabilities. Commandos are trained to operate ground and maritime environments. In the photo at left, a 4th Battalion soldier is pictured on a night patrol in mid-March 2003 training for possible action in Iraq. Tactical Assault Group The Tactical Assault Group is divided into two units, East and West. Members of the 4th Battalion (Commando) make up the East unit and the West unit is made up of Special Air Service soldiers. Each unit is trained in counter-terrorism tactics, service-assisted or protected evacuation, entry from the air and sea, maritime point of entry, and combat search and rescue. Operations that TAG is trained for include recapturing structures, freeing hostages and supporting high-risk search teams. 16th Air Defense Regiment Home base: Woodside barracks, South Australia Deployed to: Persian Gulf region Units: An undisclosed number of gunners have been deployed from the regiment, which is the Australian Army's only ground-based air defense unit. 5th Aviation Regiment Home base: RAAF Base Townsville, Queensland Units: CH-47D Chinook transport helicopters and personnel from 5th Aviation Regiment deployed from Townsville on February 11. Australian Army Deployed to: Persian Gulf region Units: An advance party for the Special Forces Task Group, including a Special Air Service squadron, left Perth, Australia, on January 24, 2003. CH-47 transport helicopters and personnel from 5th Aviation Regiment deployed from Townsville on February 11. On April 17, Australian Defense Minister Robert Hill said most of Australia's forces, including the Special Air Service squadron and some of the Combat Service Support Group that provides logistic support for the Special Forces Task Group, would return home in May. Other Special Forces support elements deployed on February 14, including troops from the newly established Incident Response Regiment (IRR) based at Holsworthy, New South Wales, and a quick reaction support force drawn from the Holsworthy, Sydney-based 4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (Commando) unit. Duties: The Special Air Service squadron is capable of providing long-range, small-group reconnaissance capability, and can also conduct limited direct-action offensive operations. The IRR is a specialized unit for response to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive incidents. It includes intelligence, signals, medical, nursing, ordnance, transport, electrical and mechanical engineers, scientists and catering officers. It has no offensive capability. The 4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (Commando) is trained to operate in air, ground and maritime environments, and also has counterterrorism training. Royal Australian Navy HMAS Kanimbla Date deployed: January 23, 2003 Destination: Persian Gulf Home port: Sydney, Australia Type of vessel: Amphibious transport ship converted from ex-U.S. Navy tank landing ship. Crew: 180 Aircraft: Capable of carrying up to four Sea Hawk/Black Hawk-size helicopters or three of the larger Sea King helicopters. Ship's hangar also can handle a Chinook helicopter. Armament: One 20mm Phalanx rapid-fire close-range weapons system, .50 caliber machine guns and SRBOC anti-missile chaff and decoy system Maximum speed: 20 knots Power plant: Six diesel engines Length: 525 feet Embarked forces: A Sea King helicopter, Army landing craft, an Army air defense detachment and a specialist explosives ordnance team. HMAS Darwin Date deployed: October 28, 2002 Destination: Persian Gulf Type of vessel: Adelaide-class guided-missile frigate Home port: Perth, Australia Total personnel: 186 Aircraft: Up to two Sea Hawk helicopters Armament: One 76mm rapid-fire gun, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Standard surface-to-air missiles, one 20 mm Phalanx rapid-fire close-range weapons system, and two triple-mounted anti-submarine torpedo tubes for Mk 32 torpedoes. Maximum speed: More than 30 knots Power Plant: Two gas turbine engines Length: 455 feet Royal Australian Navy Date deployed: October 28, 2002 Destination: Persian Gulf Home port: Sydney, Australia Type of vessel: Anzac-class guided-missile frigate Crew: 173 Power plant: One gas turbine and two diesel turbines Aircraft: Capable of carrying a single Sea Hawk helicopter Armament: One 5-inch Mk 45 rapid-fire gun, Sea Sparrow anti-air missiles, two Mk 32 triple-mounted anti-submarine torpedo tubes, and four 50-caliber machine guns. Maximum speed: More than 28 knots Power plant: One gas turbine and two diesel turbines Length: 389 feet Launched: May 18, 1996 Deployed to: Persian Gulf Units: Sea transport ship HMAS Kanimbla left Sydney on January 23, 2003, carrying about 350 sailors and soldiers, a Sea King helicopter, Army landing craft, an Army air defense detachment and a specialist explosives ordnance team. A Navy clearance diver team capable of locating, rendering safe and disposing of mines left Sydney on February 14. On April 17, Australian Defense Minister Robert Hill said most of Australia's forces, including about 600 personnel on the HMAS Anzac and HMAS Darwin and the Navy diver team, would return home in May. Duties: The Kanimbla joined frigates HMAS Anzac and Darwin in the Persian Gulf, where they are deployed as part of the multinational force enforcing the U.N. sanctions against Iraq.
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