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Chief of Defence and Defence Minister at odds

Chief of Defence and Defence Minister at odds

A briefing by the Chief of Defence Force and the Ministry of Defence today in connection with deployment of Orion aircraft to the Gulf identified a clear conflict between the Minister and the Head of our Armed Forces, says National Defence Spokesperson Richard Worth.

“On October 4 the Minister responded to my written question regarding the Orion capabilities, that the aircraft had limited mission communication and technology systems. My question specifically related to the Persian Gulf mission.

“Minister Burton said the limitations would mean the Orions couldn’t participate in a combined operation effectively.

“The Chief of Defence directly conflicted this at the briefing for Opposition parties today, as did the Prime Minister in Parliament this afternoon.

“National supports the deployment of the Orions to the Gulf but they need to be able to undertake the task. The Minister says they can’t, the Chief of Defence Force says they can.

“This is an embarrassment. Either the Minister needs to admit that his earlier answer was an error, or the Chief of Defence Force must admit the aircraft are in fact limited as the Minister has identified,” said Richard Worth.

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