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Thursday, 11 November 1971
Page: 3316

Mr ERWIN - I ask the Minister for Defence whether a request was received from the Malaysian Government for Sabre aircraft to be provided in addition to those which were supplied in 1969. Has a joint Royal Australian Air Force and Department of Supply team recently visited Malaysia for the purpose of discussing this request? If so, what further action is proposed in this matter?

Mr FAIRBAIRN - Arrangements have been made to transfer from the Royal Australian Air Force to the Royal Malaysian Air Force an additional 6 Sabre aircraft. The first of these will arrive at Butterworth Air Force Base tonight and the rest will be delivered over the next few weeks. These 6 aircraft are in addition to the 10 which were given to the Royal Malaysian Air Force in 1969 and will bring the total to 16. This will increase the operational efficiency of the Royal Malaysian Air Force very considerably. It will be, of course, a gift and in addition there will be a gift of some spares. This will be over and above the defence assistance vote which is normally given to Malaysia. I believe this has been an extremely good programme. At the moment there is a small RAAF Sabre training unit at Butterworth which has been instructing Malaysians. It has been so successful that it has worked itself out of a job and will soon return to Australia. From that moment on the Malaysians will have a full Sabre squadron which they will be able to operate themselves.

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