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Delay in Navy Helicopters

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Statement "by the Minister for the Navy, .

Senator J.G. Gorton,

The Minster for the Navy, Senator Gorton, confirmed

today that there had "been a delay in the delivery rate of the·

twenty-seven Westland Wessex anti-submarine helicopters

ordered for the R.A.N. . . ·

He said all the helicopters had been due in

Australia by mid-June. Only twenty were now expected by

this date, with the remaining seven delivered before the end ·

of the year. ■ . .

Senator Gorton said the air frames for the helicopters

were on schedule, and it was the engines that were causing the

delay. This unexpected hold-up in engines was the result of '

changes in the management of the company concerned.

The delays were causing some concern, but would not

interfere greatly with the introduction of anti-submarine

helicopters in the R.A.N. A Westland Wessex training squadron

was.already operating satisfactorily at Nowra, and the first

"Front Line" Squadron would be formed on time in the middle

of the year. However, the "Front Line" squadron would be one

or perhaps two'helicopters short for a month or so.

The main problem resulting from the delay would be

an initial shortage of spare engines. .

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Canberra. 22nd March, 1963.