Australia sends 2 unarmed air force planes to support US-led coalition missions over Iraq

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Australia's prime minister says the air force is sending two unarmed planes to support U.S.-led coalition combat operations over Iraq, but will not yet launch its own airstrikes.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament an E-7A Wedgetail early warning and control aircraft and a KC-30A refueling aircraft would join operations from Wednesday from the al-Minhad Air Base outside Dubai.

He says Cabinet ministers are awaiting final clearances from the Iraqi government before they make their final decision on committing to combat missions.

The Australian government can commit troops to war without asking Parliament for permission.

An Australian commitment to combat has been widely anticipated since six F/A-18F Super Hornet jet fighters, along with the two support aircraft, were deployed to the United Arab Emirates two weeks ago.