the early 1980s, due to the significance of the island chain to
Australias north-west, the structure of the RAAF featured
highly capable platforms and strategic surveillance equipment.
F-111 bomber, C-130 transport and P-3 maritime patrol aircraft
were already in service, with the F/A-18 fighter and Boeing 707
long-range transport and air-to-air refuellers under consideration,
along with the Jindalee over-the-horizon (long-range) radar, airborne
early warning and control aircraft, and additional air bases across
the continents north. By May 1985, the first of 75 F/A-18
Hornets also arrived in Australia. The new fighter aircraft replaced
the Mirage IIIs, which had been in service since 1964.
December 1987 the first contingent of RAAF personnel and their
families arrived at Tindal, 300 kilometres south of Darwin.
RAAF Base Tindal was the first new operational air base to be
built in Australia since World War II and was placed squarely
within the ADFs designated area of operations. Home
to No. 75 Squadron and the second contingent of F/A-18 Hornets,
Tindal was officially opened on 31 March 1989 by then Prime
Minister Bob Hawke.
invasion of Kuwait by Iraq on 2 August 1990 paved the way
for the formation of a multinational force comprising 40,000 troops
from thirty countries to enforce United Nations Security Council
resolutions and drive back Iraqi forces. Over 1800 ADF personnel
were deployed in the Gulf War from August 1990 to September 1991.
The force comprised units from the Australian Navy, Army and Air
Force. Operations were named Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Desert
Farewell. No deaths occurred among Australian personnel although
Coalition forces lost 166 personnel.
addition, Army and Air Force provided personnel to Operation Habitat,
the delivery of humanitarian aid to Kurds living in the UN-declared
exclusion zone in northern Iraq. Air Force support also included
the evacuation of Australian nationals. Boeing 707 tanker aircraft
from No. 33 Squadron also flew to the Gulf during MarchMay
1998 to support Allied air operations in the region.