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Tuesday, 27 October 1970

Mr Keating (BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that the $US34m paid for the lease of the McDonnell Douglas Phantom F4E aircraft covers maintenance and servicing in the United States of component parts of the aircraft.

(2)   Does the Government intend to enter into arrangements with local industry for major servicing of the Phantom in Australia.

Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The $US34m provided to cover the Phantom F4E arrangements with the USAF is made up of:

(a)   a lease for two years of the aircraft, spare engines and aerospace ground equipment, and

(b)   costs associated with, over the same period:

The purchase of intermediate and operational spares, transportation costs to Australia, including aircraft ferrying,

USAF administration costs, field service representatives, (raining of RAAF personnel, including refuelling, publications, technical data and transparencies; and that portion of major repair and overhaul associated with airframes and engines likely to be required in the USA during the two year period.

(2)   The terms of the lease require the RAAF to operate and maintain the leased property, i.e. aircraft etc., to USAF standards whilst it is under RAAF control. The RAAF intends to carry out in Australia at operational bases all intermediate and operational maintenance of the aircraft. The ground test equipment being leased from the USAF excludes those major and expensive items required to carry out major overhauls such as the extensive 'E' servicing, lt has been estimated that the cost of acquiring sufficient equipment to make 'E' servicing feasible in Australia would be in excess of $5m and the low workload associated with servicing only 24 aircraft makes this unattractive. However, the RAAF is at present investigating within these ground rules the level and nature of maintenance work that may be undertaken in Australia during the total period of leasehold of the aircraft

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