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Coalition to increase air force flying time



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M E D I A R E L E A S E

ALEXANDER DOWNER MEMBER FOR MAYO SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE

COALITION TO INCREASE AIR FORCE FLYING TIME

"Air Force flying hours will be increased under a Coalition Government. This will bring about an increase in the operational readiness of the Air Force's fighter squadrons."

Visiting Air Force base Williamtown on the New South Wales central coast, Shadow Minister for Defence Alexander Downer said today that the Coalition was concerned about Labor Government reductions to Air Force flying time.

"According to a recent Four Comers program, Air Force fighter pilots are averaging around 170 flying hours a year.

"This figure represents a considerable reduction from an annual average of 240 hours for fighter pilots some years ago.

"Senior Air Force personnel told the Senate Estimates Committee in October 1989 that, if flying hours were reduced from the 240 hour annual level, then 'there may be a need to reduce some of these [pilot] standards'.

"Since that time, annual average flying hours have been reduced by around 70 hours.

'This is an unacceptable situation which cannot be allowed to continue", Alexander Downer said.

'The Coalition will therefore increase spending on Defence Force operational activities by $20 million in our first year of Government and from this increased level by an additional $30 million in the second year.

"A substantial portion cf this will be spent increasing Air Force flying hours.

"This financial commitment will reverse the Labor trend of cutting Defence operational and training activities and put the emphasis on improving training and operational levels.

"The spending increase will be funded from savings made by cutting non-combat related Defence bureaucracy."

More Information: Peter Je’ lings (06) 277 4145

(ends) 22 September 1992 (38s

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600 Telephone (06) 277 4145 Facsimile (06) 277 2143 After Hours Telephone: (08) 339 5152 or (06) 286 1504

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