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New Zealand's Loss is Australia's $1b Gain

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is set to save hundreds of millions of dollars by gaining New Zealand pilots as a result of the scrapping of New Zealand's Air Combat Force, ACT Defence Spokesman MP Owen Jennings said today.

"We will lose a massive amount of talent, as these capable young airforce personnel head overseas," Owen Jennings said.

"The RAAF currently have eleven operational pilots available for their thirty-four F111 fighter bombers and forty-two pilots for seventy-one FA18 Hornet fighters.

"The Australians are short of at least fifty-two pilots.

"We are making redundant at least 700 pilots and ground crew. We have invested a lot of time and money to produce excellent pilots, and Australia could gain them.

"Figures from Australia estimate the cost of training a pilot is in excess of $25m. That figure includes the cost of salaries, fuel, ground support crew costs, and maintenance. New Zealand has invested a fraction of that figure and our pilots can simply walk across the base at Nowra and join the RAAF.

"Recent joint exercises between New Zealand and Australia have shown the vast experience and skill New Zealand pilots have, even with their outdated aircraft. In one recent joint exercise, our pilots "sunk" the HMAS ANZAC four times before the RAAF got a shot off," Owen Jennings said today.

Ends


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