us wants australia to pay!

  1. dub
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    Just out, FWIW:

    US wants money for bombs
    By Mark Dunn
    May 28, 2003

    AUSTRALIA is to be billed several million dollars by the United States for bombs dropped on Iraq.

    Weeks after George W. Bush's public thank you to John Howard, the bills are due to arrive – including the cost of US food eaten by some Diggers.

    Australia joined the President's "coalition of the willing" when the US was desperate for international support.

    The Australian Defence Force is now being asked to share the costs for its part in toppling Saddam Hussein under the "user-pays" principle of modern warfare.

    Australian jet fighters fired a number of US laser-guided bombs – each worth a five-figure sum.

    The F/A-18 Hornets flew 350 combat missions, dropping 122 precision-guided weapons.

    ADF officials will not specify the types or quantity of bombs dropped.

    But defence analysts believe they include US-owned MK84s and GBU-series 220kg and 907kg weapons, worth $28,800 and $35,900 respectively.

    They said some Hornets appeared to be fitted with AIM-120 Slammer air-to-air missiles, which have a list price of $586,000.

    But Iraq's air force did not make it off the ground and the supersonic rockets were not fired.

    The ADF will also be required to pay an undisclosed amount – believed to be up to $3 million – for satellite time and band width to connect the Canberra war room with command in the Gulf, and enable it to talk directly with SAS troops on the ground.

    "It was described as the first struggle in the war, to secure band width," said Derek Woolner, defence analysis director at the Australian Defence Studies Centre.

    "They just needed it for command and control and they had to have it.

    "It did allow headquarters in Australia to talk to special forces. They bought it commercially and someone was able to charge a premium."

    The ADF will also be invoiced by a private UK firm, which provided massive Ilyushin heavy-lift aircraft to move equipment to the Gulf. Analysts estimate the cost at up to $1 million a day.

    Defence was given an extra $645 million in this month's federal Budget to meet the cost of the war in Iraq.

    ADF first assistant secretary of finance George Veitch said the bills from allies represented only a small component of the overall cost.

    "The Australian defence will not know the final cost of support provided to the ADF until all invoices are presented," Mr Veitch said.

    "Most of the stuff we took over ourselves.

    "In the overall scheme of $645 million, it's a drop in the ocean."

    The Budget top-upwill cover:

    COMBAT pay totalling $100 million – the international campaign allowance of up to $200 a day on top of wages.

    SPECIALIST desert equipment plus bio-chemical protection and clothing to the tune of $150 million.

    UP TO $300 million on direct operational costs, including communication, fuel, munitions, ordnance and landing charges.

    $80 MILLION to bring troops home, repair and remove sand from equipment, replace stores, clear Customs and quarantine.

    On top of the $645 million, the ADF will find an estimated $155 million from within its own reserves to pay for wages and major assets used in the campaign – a cost it says it would be paying whether or not there was a war.

    That breakdown, based on the ADF's 2003-04 budget statements, equates to:

    ABOUT $91 million for two frigates and the HMAS Kanimbla supply ship in the Gulf for three months.

    UP TO $30 million for SAS troops and logistics support.

    $34 MILLION for the 14 Hornet fighters and ground crew.

    Mr Veitch said the cost of the war was not as bad as expected.

    "We expected we'd have troops over there for a longer period of time," he said.

    Partners in the "coalition of the willing" understood they would "pay their way", Mr Veitch said.

    "People pay for what they use . . . it's whoever is best placed to provide the logistics support."

    Herald Sun

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