Australia to foot bill for US bombs dropped in ISIS fight
- 3 DAYS AGO OCTOBER 09, 2014
AUSTRALIA will be billed by the US military for many of the missiles and other bombs RAAF jet fighters drop in the campaign against Islamic State terrorists.
US-supplied smart-guided weapons fitted to Australia’s Super Hornets can range in price from less than $70,000 to more than $650,000 each.
Weapons-sharing agreements struck between the Australian Defence Force and the Pentagon give the RAAF access to US aerial ordnance but each missile or bomb used must be paid for.
The Australian Air Task Group has stocks of its own munitions at Al Minhad air base near Dubai but the RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets can carry a mix of both Australian and US-supplied armaments.
It is understood that aircraft fuel, dispensed on the ground or air-to-air through the RAAF KC-30A multi-role tanker transport, will also be purchased from the US or other third parties.
“The ADF has access to a wide variety of munitions, both Australian and sourced from the United States,” an ADF spokesman said. “For operational reasons, we will not elaborate on the precise types, numbers or potential costs.”
During missions over recent days, the Hornets have been fitted with air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, including $650,000 AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles and Joint Direct Attack Munition laser and GPS-guided bombs, costing up to $50,000 each.
User-pays is not new, and longstanding Defence Logistics Support Agreements between Australia, the US and the UK have seen Australia pay its coalition partners well in excess of $150 million since the conflicts began in Afghanistan and Iraq after the 9/11 attacks on the US in 2001.
Australia paid the US and UK $25.67 million in 2006 for base supplies, accommodation, diesel, meals and airlift support. The Australia-US agreement has stated “all defence articles and defence services provided to Australia by the US are to be priced on a full-cost basis as required by the US Arms Control Export Act’’.