Australia is stepping up its support for Ukraine by deploying a surveillance plane that can give Ukrainian forces early warning of a Russian attack.
- An Australian surveillance plane will be deployed in Germany
- It will monitor Ukraine from European airspace
Australia will deploy a surveillance plane for logistical support to Ukraine, but will not enter the war-torn country’s airspace.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made the announcement during a visit to Germany ahead of the NATO summit in Lithuania.
Albanese will meet the leaders of New Zealand, Japan and South Korea on the sidelines of a military alliance meeting in Vilnius starting Tuesday to discuss the war in Ukraine.
The Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail early warning and control aircraft will help protect multinational logistics centers to ensure the uninterrupted flow of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Albanese said.
The aircraft will be deployed for six months based in Germany and will operate within European airspace avoiding the territory of Ukraine, Russia or Belarus.
Australia will deploy a surveillance plane for logistical support to Ukraine but will not enter the war-torn country’s airspace, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (above) said.
The Wedgetail combines long-range surveillance radar, secondary radar and tactical voice and data communication systems to provide airborne early warning and control, the Australian Defense Force said.
Albanese said the deployment will include up to 100 crew and support personnel from Australia.
“This demonstrates Australia’s commitment to upholding the rules-based international order,” he told reporters in Berlin on Monday.
The aircraft will be sent as part of Operation Kudu, the Australian Defense Force’s commitment to training Ukrainian recruits in the UK.
Earlier, Albanese announced that Australia will sell locally-made armored vehicles to Germany under a $1 billion defense export deal.
The prime minister met German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin ahead of the NATO summit.
More than 100 Brisbane-made Boxer heavy gun carriers will be sold to Germany, one of the largest defense export deals in Australian history.
“This is good for our defense, this is good for our national sovereignty, but it is also good for our economy,” he told reporters in Berlin.
Albanese said the sale of the vehicles, by German defense manufacturer Rheinmetall, would be worth more than $1 billion to the Australian economy.
Both leaders declined to comment on the US decision to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions, a type of weapon banned by more than 100 countries, including Germany and Australia, as part of an international convention.
Mr. Scholz called it “a sovereign decision of the United States of America…we can say that we would not make such deliveries because we have committed ourselves, and I will not comment further on this American decision.”
Albanese said Australia was also a signatory to the international convention.
“We do not have such weapons and we do not intend to change that position, and I agree with the foreign minister in his comments about what other nations can do,” he said.
The Prime Minister reaffirmed Australia’s support for the government and people of Ukraine on Monday.
“This is about the people of Ukraine, who are fighting to defend their democracy and their sovereignty,” he said.
Albanese’s three-day visit to Europe will include a meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.
He will also meet the leaders of Japan and South Korea, who have been invited to attend the NATO summit.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, thanked Mr. Albanese and said that Ukraine was grateful for the military and humanitarian aid.