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Tuesday, 8 November 1983
Page: 2453

Question No. 565


Mr Jacobi asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 22 September 1983:

(1) Are Royal Australian Air Force aircraft fitted with communications equipment capable of using the international distress frequency of 121.5MHz; if not, why not.

(2) Is he able to indicate whether aircraft of the armed forces of (a) the United States of America, (b) the United Kingdom, (c) France, (d) the USSR, (e) the People's Republic of China, (f) East Germany, (g) West Germany, (h) Canada, (i) Japan, (j) Sweden and (k) Norway are similarly fitted.


Mr Scholes —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) With the exception of Macchi, Mirage and F111, all RAAF aircraft are fitted with VHF communications equipment capable of using the international distress frequency of 121.5MHz. Macchi, Mirage and F111 aircraft are presently fitted with UHF communications equipment which cannot use the international distress frequency, 121.5MHz. A modification program involving the fitting of VHF radio equipment to F111 aircraft is currently in progress and consideration is being given to installation of similar equipment in Macchi aircraft for air traffic control purposes. This equipment would enable use of the international distress frequency, 121.5MHz. The Mirage aircraft does not have an essential requirement for VHF communications in its tactical roles. However, when carrying out intercepts, Mirage aircraft are normally under the positive control of a military ground agency which does have VHF facilities and which also has direct communications with civil air traffic control agencies to meet any emergency. (2 ) (a), (b), (c), (g), (h), (i), (j) and (k). The United States of America, United Kingdom, France, West Germany, Canada, Japan, Sweden and Norway armed forces have some military aircraft which are fitted with VHF communications equipment capable of using international distress frequency 121.5MHz.

(2) (d) and (f) Whilst most aircraft of the USSR and East German armed forces are fitted with VHF communications equipment, it is not known whether such equipment is capable of using international distress frequency 121.5MHz.

(2) (e) The type of communications equipment fitted to aircraft of the People's Republic of China armed forces is unknown.