Opening of the Australian International Air Show

Stephen Smith MP Min­is­ter for Defence Open­ing of the Aus­tralian Inter­na­tion­al Air Show and Trade Expo­si­tion
Aval­on Air­port
I thank the Chair­man of Aero­space Aus­tralia Lim­it­ed, Air Mar­shal Les Fish­er AO, RAAF (Retired) for his intro­duc­tion.
I acknowl­edge Coun­cil­lor John Mitchell, May­or of Gee­long, Richard Dal­la-Riva MLC, Vic­to­ri­an Min­is­ter for Employ­ment & Indus­tri­al Rela­tions and Min­is­ter for Man­u­fac­tur­ing, Exports & Trade, my Min­is­te­r­i­al col­leagues War­ren Snow­don, Min­is­ter for Defence Per­son­nel and Sci­ence and Jason Clare, Min­is­ter for Defence Materiel, Mr Stu­art Robert, Shad­ow Min­is­ter for Defence Sci­ence, Tech­nol­o­gy and Per­son­nel, the Chief of the Air Force, Aus­tralian Defence Force Per­son­nel, dis­tin­guished inter­na­tion­al guests, ladies and gen­tle­men.

I also acknowl­edge and thank the spon­sors of the Air Show.

It is a plea­sure to join you for the offi­cial open­ing of the Aus­tralian Inter­na­tion­al Air Show and Trade Expo­si­tion.

This year’s Air Show also coin­cides with the cel­e­bra­tion of 90 years since the for­ma­tion of the Roy­al Aus­tralian Air Force, a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone.

The Aval­on Air Show has a long stand­ing rep­u­ta­tion as one of the largest and most com­pre­hen­sive events of its kind in the South­ern Hemi­sphere.

The Air Show is an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the pub­lic to see the Aus­tralian Defence Force’s air­craft types, includ­ing air­craft cur­rent­ly sup­port­ing mil­i­tary oper­a­tions and those sup­port­ing many Aus­tralians and New Zealan­ders in need dur­ing the ter­ri­ble nat­ur­al dis­as­ters this sum­mer.

This includes RAAF C-130 Her­cules and a Unit­ed States C-17A Globe­mas­ter III air­craft.

Last night I announced that Aus­tralia is con­sid­er­ing the acqui­si­tion of an addi­tion­al C-17A Globe­mas­ter III air­craft through the Unit­ed States For­eign Mil­i­tary Sales pro­gram. I dis­cussed this with Unit­ed States Deputy Under Sec­re­tary of the Unit­ed States Air Force, Ms Hei­di Grant, last night.

The recent events in Queens­land and Christchurch have under­lined the C 17s as an essen­tial part of Australia’s capac­i­ty to respond to nat­ur­al and region­al dis­as­ters.

C-17s also sup­port Aus­tralian and ISAF forces in Afghanistan and the Mid­dle East.

The C 17A air­craft can lift out­size and heavy car­goes over long dis­tances pro­vid­ing a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to Australia’s abil­i­ty to reach and respond to events.

An acqui­si­tion of an addi­tion­al C-17 would almost cer­tain­ly obvi­ate any need for the acqui­si­tion of two addi­tion­al C-130 air­craft, cur­rent­ly planned for after 2013–14.

Also on dis­play are our new F/A-18F Super Hor­nets.

Australia’s acqui­si­tion of 24 of these new air­craft to replace our F-111s will bol­ster Australia’s con­trol of the air and strike capa­bil­i­ty, essen­tial for deter­ring and defeat­ing armed attacks on Aus­tralia.

Navy and Army heli­copters are also on dis­play at the Air Show.

Navy and Army heli­copters and their crew played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the Government’s response to the recent nat­ur­al dis­as­ters in Aus­tralia.

The Air Show is a tru­ly inter­na­tion­al event and this year hosts mil­i­tary air­craft from France, Italy, Sin­ga­pore, the Unit­ed King­dom and the Unit­ed States, as well as a host of his­tor­i­cal and com­mer­cial air­craft.

I thank oth­er nations for their con­tri­bu­tion to what will be a spec­tac­u­lar Air Show.

The Aero­space & Defence Expo­si­tion also has a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the largest events of its kind.

This year, around 200 Aus­tralian com­pa­nies and 80 over­seas com­pa­nies have reg­is­tered to pro­vide a dis­play. There are del­e­ga­tions from 26 nations.
Air pow­er is fun­da­men­tal to Australia’s defence strat­e­gy and to the prin­ci­ple task of the Aus­tralian Defence Force, to deter and defeat armed attacks on Aus­tralia.
The avi­a­tion indus­try is there­fore an impor­tant ele­ment of our nation­al secu­ri­ty pol­i­cy.

Aus­tralia is in the process of acquir­ing major new avi­a­tion capa­bil­i­ties. Defence indus­try will have a role to play in these acqui­si­tions and in the sus­tain­ment of our new air­craft while they are in ADF ser­vice, includ­ing:

  • Wed­getail Air­borne Ear­ly Warn­ing and Con­trol air­craft.
  • Mul­ti-Role Tanker Trans­port air to air refu­el­ers.
  • New naval com­bat heli­copters.
  • F/A-18F Super Hor­nets.
  • F-35 Joint Strike Fight­ers.

It is impor­tant that we are col­lec­tive­ly as effi­cient as pos­si­ble in these acqui­si­tions.
In 2010-11, through the Defence Materiel Organ­i­sa­tion, Aus­tralia is expect­ed to spend over $1.5 bil­lion on avi­a­tion relat­ed acqui­si­tion and $1 bil­lion on sup­port. This includes local expen­di­ture of near­ly $1.5 bil­lion.

The total val­ue of the Defence’s avi­a­tion projects is over $20 bil­lion.

This is an excel­lent forum for indus­try, Defence and the wider avi­a­tion com­mu­ni­ty to exchange infor­ma­tion and ideas. You should make the most of this oppor­tu­ni­ty over the next cou­ple of days.

I hope that you both enjoy and find the Aus­tralian Inter­na­tion­al Air Show and Trade Expo­si­tion pro­duc­tive over the course of the week.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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