Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australian military aircraft will fly guns and ammunition into Iraq to help fight Islamic State militants.

Abbott said in a statement on Sunday: "The United States government has requested that Australia help to transport stores of military equipment, including arms and munitions, as part of a multi-nation effort."

He says: "Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster aircraft will join aircraft from other nations including Canada, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and the United States to conduct this important task."

He did not say when the air drops would begin, but News Corp. newspaper reported on Sunday that the transport aircraft based at al-Minhad Air Base outside Dubai could fly their first mission within days.