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Wednesday, 15 March 1961

Mr Ward d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Air, upon notice -

1.   How many French Dassault Mirage III jet fighter aircraft have been ordered for re-equipping the Royal Australian Air Force?

2.   What is the cost of these aircraft?

3.   Are they to be imported in a completed form or are they to be assembled or partly assembled in Australia?

4.   What are the details of the import arrangements?

5.   Are any changes in structure or equipment of this aircraft contemplated; if so, what are the details?

6.   Is it proposed to import additional numbers of these aeroplanes; if so, how many?

7.   What is the anticipated effect of the present plans of the Government on the Australian aircraft manufacturing industry and the employment which it provides?

Mr Osborne - The Minister for Air has furnished the following answers: -

1.   Thirty aircraft have been ordered.

2.   The financial provision for the project for the 30 aircraft and supporting spares and equipment is £A34M.

3.   These aircraft will be assembled and partly manufactured in Australia.

4.   The aircraft components and equipment not manufactured in Australia will be imported by the Commonwealth.

5.   The present proposal is that the R.A.A.F. aircraft and its equipment will be substantially the same as that to be produced for the French Air Force. Final decisions as to the actual engine and equipments to be incorporated will be made after more detailed examinations of those available and most suitable for the R.A.A.F.

6.   No decision has been made to increase the number from 30 aircraft.

7.   This Cabinet decision will prove a valuable impetus tothe Australian aircraft manufacturing industry and 2,000 personnel approximately will be directly employed on this project. Additionally this decision will provide work for sub-contractors and for many other firms and companies who will directly and indirectly be associated with the production of this aircraft.

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