26 October 2023

Government commits to more military aid for Ukraine

| Andrew McLaughlin
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A RAAF E-7A Wedgetail flying in the skies near Hawaii in 2021. Photo: ADF.

Australia will provide a further $20 million in military assistance to Ukraine, taking to $910 million the total value of Australian aid sent to the besieged country so far.

The latest military package includes de-mining equipment, portable X-ray machines, a 3D metal printer and counter-drone systems. The equipment will be supplied by Australian companies Minelab, Micro-X, SPEE3D, and Droneshield, respectively.

“Our local defence industry has so many ground-breaking companies providing unique solutions like this, and I want to thank them for their assistance,” Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said.

“3D metal printers can be used to print spare parts while de-mining and portable X-ray equipment can provide life-saving assistance for Ukrainian personnel on the battlefield.”

READ ALSO More Bushmaster armoured vehicles headed to Ukraine

The balance of the $910 million supplied during the 18-month-long effort to repel the Russian invasion includes 90 Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles, M113AS4 armoured personnel carriers, Supacat special forces vehicles, M777 howitzer artillery and ammunition, body armour, medical and humanitarian assistance equipment, ammunition, and contributions to the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund.

The announcement coincides with the arrival at Ramstein Air Base in Germany of a Royal Australian Air Force Boeing E-7A Wedgetail command and control aircraft and 100 support personnel under Operation KUDU for a six-month deployment to provide support to US, NATO, and other countries supplying aid to Ukraine.

As Region reported in July, the aircraft will likely operate in neutral airspace near Ukraine’s western and southern border regions with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and over the Black Sea to provide support to air traffic control services and airborne early warning of possible Russian missile and drone attacks.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia remains steadfast in supporting Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s illegal and immoral invasion.

READ ALSO Australian command and control aircraft to provide airspace management for Ukraine aid flights

“This contribution will provide Ukraine with some of the best capabilities in the world while investing in Australia’s sovereign defence industry and technology sector,” he said.

“I’m proud to confirm the E-7A Wedgetail has arrived in Germany to commence its important mission. Australia is honoured to provide this aircraft to help protect the vital lifeline of humanitarian aid and military assistance entering Ukraine.”

Acting Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles said, “We are proud to see Australian companies helping international efforts to support Ukraine to end Russia’s illegal invasion on its own terms.

“With the deployment of the E-7A, the Australian Defence Force is making an important contribution to multi-national efforts protecting the gateway of humanitarian and military assistance into Ukraine.”

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