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Thursday, 28 March 1968

Mr Barnard asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice:

1.   What sort of fuel is used in the Grumman Tracker Aircraft purchased from the United States for the Navy?

2.   Can this fuel be produced by Australian refineries?

3.   Is it a fuel which can bc rapidly attacked by oxygen, thereby losing its high octane rating which means it has to be specially stored, pumped and maintained?

4.   If so, has the Navy abandoned plans to store the fuel in its underground fuel storage at Chowder Bay in Sydney?

5.   If the fuel is not obtainable in Australia, what arrangements have been made to obtain it?

6.   Has the Government made any plans to produce and store the fuel at the Kwinana plant- in Western Australia?

7.   If the fuel is not obtainable in Australia, why did not the Navy specify that modifications be made to the engine so the Tracker aircraft can be flown on aviation fuel available in Australia?

8.   Have similar problems arisen with any other aircraft in the service of the Navy?

9.   Has this meant the grounding of any of the Tracker aircraft with consequent loss of experience by pilots of the Navy and maintenance staff?

Mr Kelly - The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows:

1.   Avgas 115/145.

2.   Yes. Part of Australia's requirements of this fuel are produced in Australia by Mobil at Altona, Victoria, the balance is imported.

3.   Avgas 115/ 145 is not subject to loss of octane rating and does not require special storage pumping or maintenance.

4.   Consideration was given to the provision of Naval storage for this fuel in Sydney because of limited commercial stocks there. However, with increased commercial holdings provision of separate Naval storage is not now considered necessary.

5.   See answer to Question 2 above.

6.   It is understood that B.P. have no plans to produce or store this fuel at their Kwinana plant.

7.   See answer to Question 2 above.

8.   No.

9.   No.

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