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Thursday, 22 May 1980
Page: 3217

Mr Scholes asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 26 March 1980:

Has a decision been made on replacements for the 1 155mm and 105mm artillery, due to enter service in 1980 (as indicated on page 22, para 73 of the Australian Defence White Paper presented to the House on 4 November 1976); if not, when will consideration be completed.

Mr Killen - The answer to the honourable member 's question is as follows:

There are two errors in the honourable member's question

(a)   replacement is not be be made of the present Army S.S inch medium gun by a 155mm gun;

(b)   the White Paper made reference to the introduction into service of howitzers and medium guns "by the early 1980s" not "in 1980" as the honourable member suggests.

Concerning the replacement of the S.S inch medium gun, I refer the honourable member to my press statement of 12 May 1 980 which announced, together with other details, that negotiations on procurement ofthe US M198 155 mm Howitzer to replace the S.S inch gun would begin in the near future.

Studies and overseas developments in the period since the 1976 Defence White Paper have led to the judgment that Army's present 105mm guns will be readily sustainable and effective for considerably longer than was then expected. The time is now approaching however that, despite this greater life expectancy, actions will be necessary to ensure that opportunities for Australian production can be adequately developed. My Department is pursuing these questions now.

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