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Monday, 15 September 2003
Page: 20122


Mr Danby asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 14 August 2003:

(1) Further to the answer to question No. 1212 (Hansard, 4 February 2003, page 184), is the Minister's department still considering the purchase of laser anti-missile defence systems; if so, (a) which systems, (b) from whom would they be purchased, (c) what is the price per unit, (d) how many units is the Government considering purchasing, (e) who would they be for, (f) which airlines would use them, (g) which aircraft would use them, (h) would they be purchased for commercial aircraft, and (i) would they be purchased for RAAF aircraft.

(2) If the Minister's department is not still considering the purchase of laser anti-missile defence systems (a) why not, and (b) what conclusions did the Minister's department come to when deciding either not to consider the purchase or not to proceed with the purchase of the technology.

(3) Is the Minister able to say whether any commercial airlines flying within Australia have considered purchasing such technology.

(4) Would the Government assist commercial airlines with the purchase price.

(5) Is the Minister able to say whether any airline proceeded with the purchase; if so, (a) which airline, (b) which systems, (c) from whom were they purchased, (d) what was the price per unit, and (e) how many units were purchased.


Mrs Vale (Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) Yes.

(a) The AAQ-24 Nemesis system.

(b) The Northrop Grumman Corporation USA.

(c) The price per unit is typically $9.4m per system. It should be noted that this price can vary according to number of systems, sub-systems and degree of integration required.

(d) The number of units being procured is classified.

(e) The Australian Defence Force.

(f) Defence is not aware of any intended acquisition by the airlines.

(g) The systems would be used on the Boeing 737-700 AEW&C aircraft procured under Project Wedgetail Air 5077 and possibly the aircraft procured under Project Air 5402 ADF Air Refuelling Capability.

(h) Defence is not aware of any intended acquisition by the airlines.

(i) Yes.

(2) (a) and (b) Refer to part (1).

(3) Defence is not aware of any intended acquisition by the airlines.

(4) It is not current Government policy to provide financial assistance to commercial airlines to acquire such technology.

(5) Defence is not aware of any intended acquisition by the airlines.