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Thursday, 16 May 1985
Page: 2070

Senator MacGIBBON —Is the Minister representing the Minister for Defence aware that the two F18 aircraft which were completed in the United States of America for the Royal Australian Air Force will depart naval air station Lemore in California at midnight tonight for a 16-hour non-stop transit to Williamtown in New South Wales? Is the Minister aware that they will be refuelled in flight on 10 occasions by United States KC10 tankers as the RAAF has no airborne tankers? Since flight refuelling is essential to maximise the effectiveness of modern combat aircraft, and since the RAAF has four Boeing 707s which were bought primarily for this role-a role which in no way affects their passenger or freighting capacity-will the Minister give the Senate an undertaking that provision for the installation of these long overdue and essential flight refuelling kits will be in this year's Budget?

Senator GARETH EVANS —It is premature to disclose anything that may, or may not, be in this year's Budget. I will refer the honourable senator's question to the Minister for Defence to see what he might be minded to tell him by way of reply.