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Tuesday, 29 November 1938

Mr Street t. - On the 25th November, the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) asked the following questions, upon notice: -

1.   What is the maximum range of the AvroAnson aeroplanes?

2.   What is their maximum effective operating radius from the base?

3.   What is the approximate date of their specifications?

4.   What is their maximum speed and ceiling?

5.   How, in detail, docs their capacity and performance compare with the sea-borne aircraft of the major powers?

6.   Are their flying instruments modern and complete ?

7.   Are they suitable as fighting machines. If alleged to be so (a)whatis their fighting equipment, and (b) for how long are they able to remain in the air without refuelling?

8.   For what purpose are they used in the Royal Air Force, and what percentage of the fighting aircraft of the Royal Air Force do they comprise?

I am now in a position to inform the honorable member as follows: - 1, 2 and 4. The only information which can be disclosed regarding the performance of the Ansontype aircraft is contained in the publication, Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 1937 issue, and I have arranged for relevant extracts from this publication to be furnished to the honorable member.

3.   The Anson was not built to a military specification - it was designed as a civil aeroplane, and was accepted as an interim Royal Air Force type pending development and adoption of an aircraft specially designed for reconnaissance duties. Trials of the civil aircraft, with a view to its adoption temporarily as a military aircraft, were begun in 1935.

5.   The performances of sea-borne aircraftof the major powers are not published, and, therefore, comparison in detail is not possible. Also, the Anson is a land-based reconnaissance aircraft, and, as such, is not directly comparable with sea-borne aircraft. I can assure the honorable member, however, that the Anson is capable of performing its allotted duties until replaced by the specially designed reconnais- sance aircraft now on order.

6.   Yes, but steps have been taken to supplement those now fitted by further instruments to complete what is now known as a modern blind flying instrument panel.

7.   Air force aircraft are divided into classes according to the nature of their duties. The three main classes are : fighters, bombers, reconnaissance. The performance and characteristics of individual aircraft types vary according to the class to which they belong. No true comparison is possible between aircraft of different classes. The Anson is in the reconnaissance class, and although armed defensively with two machine guns for its own protection, is not a fighter aircraft.

8.   Ansons are used in the Royal Air Force for the same purpose as in the Royal Australian Air Force, i.e., for general reconnaissance duties. It is not known what percentage of the total aircraft of the Royal Air Force they comprise, although the Anson is still in production in the United Kingdom and forms the equipment of many Royal Air Force squadrons.

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