Australia: Frontline Role for the Army

Australian forces, including Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) soldiers and F/A-18 Hornet fighter-bombers, are set for a frontline role in any conflict with Iraq, the commander of Australia's 2,000 member contingent said today.

But Brigadier Maurie McNarn refused to say just what that role would be or when it might occur.

He said the government had made it very clear there had been no commitment at this stage.

"But if the government requires us to go to operations, yes, we are ready," he told reporters.

"They would have active frontline roles. By their very nature, virtually all the forces we have got here are frontline and should the government choose to commit them, we expect that our forces will have key and frontline roles."

Australia currently has some 2,000 personnel deployed to the Middle East in preparation for any US-led conflict with Iraq.

They include some 150 SASR soldiers, commandos from the 4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (4RAR), three CH-47 Chinook helicopters, 14 Hornet fighters, three warships, two P3-C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and three Hercules transport aircraft.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald 12/03/2003

Henry L. Marconi PRAVDA.Ru Sydney Australia

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