Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Friday, 1 June 1984
Page: 2390


Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(4.06) —I am advised no detailed operational evaluation was done before the tenders were let. It was done simply on the basis of a paper evaluation, and the operational evaluation is now being done, the aircraft having come into operational service in the Barrier Reef area today, as I understand it. As to the essence of the decision on the technical aspects, the public comparisons of the performance and cost of the Nomad aircraft fitted with its Litton 360-degree radar and its replacement, the Shrike Commander, with its SLAR, are false because they fail to take into account the nature of the Great Barrier Reef patrols, where visual observation is equally as important as the radar detection function in surveillance. The optimum search height of 1,000 feet, with the combination of radar and visual search needed on the Reef, has been established after years of experience. It represents a compromise between maximising the radar detection horizon and accommodating limitations imposed by performance and fuel criteria arising from the need to descend frequently to identify and present a visible presence to the hundreds of small craft in the area.

I do not know whether Senator MacGibbon accepts that or whether he wants to make further complaints about that kind of reasoning, but I put on the record that that is the kind of reasoning and justification that is advanced for making the decision in those terms, along with the obvious commercial reasoning I have endeavoured to explain previously. I think that covers the general points the honourable senator made. He wants a detailed cost comparison supplied. I do not know whether it is possible to supply any more detail on matters financial than we have already. If it is so possible, we will do it. I am happy to treat it as a question on notice and answer it accordingly.