CANBERRA and LOS ANGELES—Deployed in short order last year to bolster international operations against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria, Australia’s highly modern Air Task Group (ATG) is a compact bellwether of an air force in transition. Comprising six Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18Fs, an E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft and a KC-30A multi-role tanker transport, the force has been punching above its weight since self-deploying in ...

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