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Operation Catalyst comes into effect tomorrow.

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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR THE HON ROBERT HILL Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate


Tuesday, 15 July 2003 89/2003


The Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the coalition to disarm Iraq enters a new phase tomorrow, Defence Minister Robert Hill announced today.

Senator Hill said the ADF’s role would be to participate in coalition efforts to develop a secure environment in Iraq, assist national recovery and facilitate the transition to Iraqi self-government. The ADF’s contribution will have the new operational name of Catalyst. Operation Falconer, the ADF’s contribution to combat operations in Iraq, will cease when the transition to Operation Catalyst is complete.

“We are also contributing in areas which help Iraq’s long-term stability such as supporting the development of a professional, apolitical Iraqi Defence Force which can meet the basic defence needs of a future representative Iraqi Government,’” Senator Hill said.

Operation Catalyst comprises approximately 1000 personnel, including:

• An Australian Joint Task Force headquarters for national command of ADF elements deployed in the Middle East. This headquarters is currently commanded by Air Commodore Graham Bentley and will be responsible for both Operation Catalyst and Operation Slipper, Australia’s contribution to the war against terrorism.

• A naval component of about 270 personnel, comprising HMAS Sydney (soon to be replaced by HMAS Newcastle) as part of the coalition maritime force conducting maritime interception operations in the northern Persian Gulf and a Logistic Support Element.

• A RAAF C-130 Hercules detachment of about 140 personnel providing intra-theatre air lift and sustainment support in the Middle East, with two transport aircraft, ground crew and other support elements.

• An Air Traffic Control detachment and support personnel at Baghdad International Airport providing air traffic control services, and Combined Air Operations Staff - totalling about 80 personnel.

• A security detachment of about 70 personnel including armoured vehicles and an explosive ordnance detachment to provide protection and escort for Australian Government personnel working in our Representative Office in Baghdad.

• Up to 16 analysts and technical experts to support the Iraq Survey Group - the coalition effort to locate, identify, account for and subsequently destroy Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and associated programs.

Media contacts Catherine Fitzpatrick (Senator Hill) 02 6277 7800 0405 351 245

Andy Anderson (Defence) 02 6265 2913 0419 621 753


• An Australian contribution to coalition headquarters and units, combined logistics and communications elements comprising about 90 personnel.

• Six personnel to provide training and policy support to assist the development of the Iraqi Defence Force.

• A temporary military liaison officer with the Australian Mission in Baghdad.

• Three ADF representatives to the Coalition Provision Authority (formerly ORHA).

• A RAAF P-3C Orion detachment of about 160 personnel conducting maritime patrol operations, with two aircraft and associated command and support elements supporting both the rehabilitation operation in Iraq and the coalition operation against terrorism.

The ADF has made a magnificent contribution to eliminating the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s regime and liberating the Iraqi people. Our forces will continue to play a vital role in supporting the development of a peaceful, free and secure Iraq. We wish them well.