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Negotiations completed for Australia's entry into JSF program.

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Media Release The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources

  23 October 2002 02/202


NEGOTIATIONS COMPLETED FOR AUSTRALIA'S ENTRY INTO JSF PROGRAM   Negotiations for Australia's entry into the decade-long development phase of the US$200 billion Joint Strike Fighter program have been successfully completed, Defence Minister Robert Hill and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane announced today.

Cabinet this week approved entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Government after Defence and the Department of Industry Tourism and Resources determined the terms of Australia's involvement in the JSF program.

The decision means an investment of up to US$150 million over 10 years to join as a level three partner. This puts Australia at the forefront of developing the world's most advanced combat aircraft over the next 30 years.

"The JSF is a fifth generation aircraft. Participating in its development and expected acquisition enables us to leap a generation of aircraft, rather than invest in a platform that may well be out of date in the next 10 or 15 years," Senator Hill said.

"Our negotiations with the United States Government have gone very well. We have achieved in four months what other partner countries have negotiated over one to two years," he said.

"We've been impressed by the performance of Australian firms and the willingness of Lockheed Martin and its project partners to investigate Australia's industry capability," said Mr Macfarlane.

"Based on initial indications, we expect Australian firms to capture work in excess of our entry cost in the development phase alone. They will also be positioned well for substantial work in longer term production and support," he said.

Senator Hill and his US counterpart, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, will sign a Ministerial Exchange of Letters during next week's AUSMIN meeting in Washington.

Media contacts:

Senator Hill: Catherine Fitzpatrick 02 6277 7800 or 0405 351 245

Mr Macfarlane: Kirsty Boazman 02 6277 7580 or 0412 171 444   CMR02-262