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P-3C Orion aircraft to be deployed in terror war

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."

ENDS

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