Australia saves six F-111s, offers seven, buries 23
By: Greg Waldron Singapore
Australia is offering to loan seven retired General Dynamics F-111 aircraft to Australian museums and other organisations, while it has buried another 23 aircraft in a landfill.
"Following their retirement in December last year, aircraft museums and historical organisations around the country contacted me expressing strong interest in displaying the F-111," said minister for defence materiel Jason Clare.
He invited interested organisations to submit a request for offer.
australian f-111 disposal, channel 7
Clare said the aircraft will be on loan so the government can manage the risk of hazardous materials in the aircraft, such as asbestos. It has also set a number of conditions that must be met to obtain an aircraft.
Conditions include an enclosed space for the aircraft, assurances to limit public access, and the ability to provide preservation maintenance. Since the aircraft were manufactured in the USA, organisations that seek to display them must have approval from the US government under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
The request for offer will close on 28 March 2012.
In addition to the seven aircraft on offer, six will be preserved at four RAAF bases: two each at Amberley and Point Cook, and one each at Edinburgh and Wagga.
Separately, Australian media reported that 23 F-111s were buried in a landfill near the Australian town of Ipswich. The decision to dispose of the aircraft in this manner incurred the displeasure of the nation's aviation enthusiasts.