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Wednesday, 20 May 1970

Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is no substance in the point raised by the honourable member.

Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - I do not want to be held to ransom over the figures I am about ro give. At present in the United States 2 advanced fighter aircraft are being built. They are the F14 and the FI 5 - one for the United States Air Force and one for the United States Navy. I think both aircraft will be swing-wing aircraft. They will be very sophisticated aircraft and, I am advised, vastly expensive - certainly starting prices will be in excess of $I0m or SI 2m. I understand, and this gets to the point of the question, that the developmental costs for one of these aircraft and the contracts relating to it are $US400m. So the development of sophisticated aircraft is an extraordinarily expensive business. The other point which has just come to my mind is that although some reports said that the United Kingdom was interested in this swing-wing advanced trainer cum ground attack aircraft which had in part been designed out here, and only in a very preliminary sense in part designed here, all the advice available to me is that the Royal Air Force would not be interested in such an aircraft. Despite assurances from the company there would be virtually no prospect of the Royal Air Force having any interest in or placing any order for the aircraft. This must make one doubt the viability of the sort of project the honourable member had in mind when he asked his question.

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