The Australian government has given the go-ahead for its warplanes to begin attacks on Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq in a matter of days.
Six F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets have been on standby in the Middle East for two weeks in preparation for joining the United States-led attacks on IS targets, the ABC reports.
The national security committee of Australia's cabinet met earlier this morning, followed by a full cabinet meeting, before the public announcement was made.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott warned that the military campaign against IS fighters will take time. "This deployment to Iraq could be quite lengthy."
Mr Abbott said Australia was also providing an early warning and control aircraft and an aerial refuelling tanker, plus 400 people to support the air deployment.
There would be another 200 troops in addition to that, including special forces as military advisors - subject to final legal clearances.
"It is our national interest that we do so, it is in the interests of civilisation that we do so. It is in everyone's best interests that the murderous rage of the ISIL death cult be checked and rolled back," he said.
Australia's Defence Force Chief Mark Binskin briefed senior government officials this morning and said the country's forces were ready to go.
"The team is well-trained, they're well-equipped, they're well-prepared."
The first air strikes are expected to take place within the coming days. US forces began strikes against IS targets in Iraq in August and in Syria last month.