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Orions “not mission capable” in the Gulf

Orions “not mission capable” in the Gulf

Reports from the Defence Minister’s office that the Orions are ‘mission capable’ for the Gulf task are wrong and should be exposed, says National’s Defence Spokesman Richard Worth.

In answer to my questions Defence Minister Mark Burton has admitted that the Orions have ‘old technology’ and are not compatible to share information with other forces.

He answered that the aircraft ‘do not have compatible communications capabilities that enable the sharing of information with other forces. These limitations would limit the Orion’s ability to effectively participate in a combined operation’.
“The position is quite simple - the Government stopped a planned Orion upgrade, known as Project Sirius, in August 2000. Now it is admitting that the aircraft use old technology and aren’t compatible to share information with other forces.

“The Minister says ‘the airframes will be rotated’ in carrying out the Gulf project. That is code for saying several Orion aircraft will be used. To undertake the required task Project Sirius, or at least the most significant aspects of it will now need to be implemented.

“It seems the Minister is now telling the public that the Government has done a u-turn on Project Sirius the estimated cost of which is $600m,” Mr Worth said.

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