All the talk in the wake of the weekend’s helicopter points in one direction – concern over maintenance.

Yesterday, the Australian Defence Association warned that the Sea Kings should have been scrapped ten years ago. The 7:30 Report
last night followed up this theme. Retired naval pilot Mike Lehan spoke
of the limitations on carrying out major maintenance on board ship and
said that squeezing two helicopters into the hangar of HMAS Kanimbla
meant mechanics could not carry out major maintenance.

That’s what Crikey’s military moles say, too. One says the disaster was
“probably a major equipment failure, not picked up in maintenance that
was unable to be performed properly in the field”. They also worry
about the pressure being placed on the defence forces. There are
rumblings in the ranks that the prime minister is “too damned eager to
thrust our forces forward to pursue his own agendas, not to mention US
foreign policy”.

Will there be extra money to pay for all that in the Budget?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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