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Thursday, 31 August 1972
Page: 589

Senator CARRICK (NEW SOUTH WALES) - My . question, which I direct to the Minister for Air, concerns the operational experience of Fill aircraft in both the U.S.A. and Europe. Will the Minister inform the Senate of the broad performance of this aircraft in safety and genera] performance . when compared with any other aircraft, currently in service in the Allied or other air forces? Has not the service experience of this aircraft, now very extensive, fully justified the decision of the Australian Government to equip the Royal Australian Air Force with Fill aircraft?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - The performance of the Fill is very ; pleasing indeed.

Senator Georges - It has not even got here. What sort of a performance is that?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - Does Senator Georges want me to answer this question? The honourable senator who asked the question will know that the Fill is operating not only in the United States but also in Great Britain. 1 have seen information that the performance of the aircraft in both countries is outstanding, particularly in bombing and navigation exercises. Contractual orders have been placed for 550 of these aircraft and of that number 467 have been delivered. It is my understanding that until 6th August, Fills had flown about 193,000 hours involving more than 70,000 flights. The 24 F111Cs ordered by Australia are all at present in the modification programme. It is expected that they will come out of that programme equipped and modified to the standard of the Fills at present flying in the United States. It is hoped that at the end of May next year 6 of the F111Cs will be ready for delivery to Australia and will probably arrive here on 1st June next. Six more F111Cs will be coming in July, September and November next year. By November 1973 we will have the 24 F111Cs now on order.

Each aircraft will have a completely new and modified wing carry-through box, an item which gave us very much trouble in the early days of the aircraft. I believe that when these aircraft arrive and go into operation the Royal Australian Air Force, this Parliament and the people of Australia will realise that we have a very fine aircraft indeed.

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