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New training aircraft offer industry bonus.

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MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence Liberal Senator for Tasmania

22 Nov 2000 PARLSEC 345/00

NEW TRAINING AIRCRAFT OFFER INDUSTRY BONUS The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, Senator Eric Abetz, was the keynote speaker at the official ceremony marking the new Hawk jet trainers introduction into RAAF service at RAAF Base Williamtown in New South Wales today.

"The Hawk Lead-In Fighter is an outstanding aircraft offering a world-class training capability for the RAAF with an added bonus of generating significant work for Australian aerospace and defence industry," he said. "It also demonstrates the Howard Government’s commitment to developing Defence industry within the Hunter region.

"This project has been an example of innovative ideas with benefits to the Defence Department, the manufacturer, BAE Systems and Australian industry, with high technology areas such as aircraft engineering, software development, aircraft assembly and maintenance just some examples of the technology transfers that have occurred.

"It has created about 500 jobs across Australia with the Hunter region being the key beneficiary of most of these jobs. The Hunter will continue to benefit during the projected 25-years service life of the new aircraft."

Senator Abetz said one of the key innovations in the LIF project was the life-long support of the Hawk fleet by BAE SYSTEMS.

"This innovative partnering arrangement has already involved a major transfer of technology and skills to Australia and ensures a seamless ‘cradle to grave’ development and support of the new jet trainers.

"BAE SYSTEMS has demonstrated its commitment to the ongoing responsibility for supporting this aircraft by establishing a modern support facility at Williamtown. Initially used for the assembly of 21 of the 33 aircraft ordered, this state-of-the-art facility will be used to support the fleet."

Senator Abetz said he had taken an active interest in the project with visits to BAE SYSTEMS’ facilities at Warton and Brough in the UK. He was particularly impressed with the level of expertise and professionalism at the facilities and noted the successful integration and input of Australian Defence personnel in the design and development phase.

"The new Lead-In Fighters are state-of-the-art and they will greatly enhance Australia’s fast jet training capability to ensure we have the best trained pilots in the world," Senator Abetz said.

For further information: Richard Hogan (RAAF), Tel: 0419 621753 or Andrew Joyce, Tel: 0407 100521

Ends: Contact: Senator Eric Abetz 0418 136 208

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