'F-111s were in no state to display'
INCOMPLETE and broken up.
That was the state of the F-111s that were buried at Swanbank last week, a Department of Defence spokesperson says.
Ipswich councillor Paul Tully criticised the burial of the Ipswich icons, saying they should have been made available to communities through Australia, but the Defence spokesperson told the QT they were in no state to display.
"The 23 aircraft that have been buried at Swanbank were unsuitable for display because they were incomplete and had been broken up to use for parts to keep the rest of the F-111 fleet in the air," the spokesperson said.
Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare announced last year that up to seven F-111s would be made available for loan to various Australian historical organisations, conditional on the approval of the US government, under its International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Organisations that are loaned the aircraft must also agree to certain conditions and recognise that the F-111s remain owned by the Department of Defence.
"The aircraft will be loaned to museums so that Defence can continue to manage the risk of hazardous material in the aircraft, like asbestos, and will be subject to a number of conditions ranging from facilities requirements to limits on public access to ensure the safe preservation of the aircraft," the spokesperson said.