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“Pigs” fly for the last time



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THE HON. JASON CLARE MP MINISTER FOR DEFENCE MATERIEL

03 Dec 2010

MIN162/10

“Pigs” fly for the last time

The iconic F-111 aircraft will take to the skies for the last time as it is farewelled today.

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare said the farewell of the F-111s was a significant moment in Australia’s military aviation history.

“For nearly four decades, the supersonic long range F-111s have protected Australian skies,” Mr Clare said.

“The F-111 is affectionately known as the 'Pig' for its ability to hunt at night with its nose in the weeds, thanks to its terrain-following radar.

“It could fly at two-and-a-half times the speed of sound at high altitudes, providing a strategic deterrent that protected Australia in uncertain times.

“No 6 Squadron is the last F-111 squadron still operating in the world.

“Today we say our final goodbye to this iconic aircraft and thank the dedicated people who flew and maintained it for their service of our nation.”

Mr Clare said that 24 Super Hornets are being acquired to maintain Australia’s air combat capability edge until the introduction of the Joint Strike Fighter.

“We have already taken delivery of the first eleven Super Hornets,” Mr Clare said.

“The next four will land here at Amberley next week.”

Mr Clare also paid tribute to those who had lost their lives in F-111 accidents and those who died or had suffered serious health effects associated with the fuel tank upgrade program.

“The Australian Government offers its sincere apology for the harm you have suffered as a result of your work, and will make sure you receive treatment and support.”

Media contact: Korena Flanagan - 02 6277 7620