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Australian forces to get McDonnell Douglas jets

Australia will buy 75 McDonnell Douglas F-18 fighter-bombers to replace its aging Mirage squadrons, the defense minister announced. The American planes, in the biggest defense purchase Australia has ever made, would cost $2.9 billion at current prices and probably much more when inflation is accounted for over the six-year delivery period starting in 1984.

An announcement marked the end of a costly, bitterly fought advertising and public relations battle between McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics, which was trying to sell Australia its F-16 aircraft.

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