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THE NAVAL PROGRAMME.

FOUR MORE DREADNOUGHTS.

AN EMERGENCY MST.

(By Cable.—Press Association.—Copyright.)

LONDON, March 13. The Naval Estimates, which hare been presented to Parliament, total £35,142- ---/ 00. ' New construction will absorb £8,885,----194, of which £6,599,424 will be expended on ships already under construction, and £2,285,770 will go towards a new programme which comprises four Dreadnoughts, six protected cruisers, 20 destroyers and some submarines. The personnel of the navy is not to be increased. The Government will, if necessary, ask for authority to make preparations for the rapid construction of four more large armoured ships to be laid down by April, 1, 1910, and completed in March, 1912. A memorandum on the Estimates by Mr R. MeKenna, First Lord of the Admiralty, shows that f 60,000 has been allotted for airships and half-a-million for new submarines, and adds that during the current year three battleships, four Invincibles (battleship-cruisers), five destroyers, 17 first-class torpedoes, and seven submarines, have been completed, and the following will be unddr construction on April I:—Six battleships, one armoured cruiser, two unarmoured" cruisers, fivo protected cruisers, 25 destroyers, six torpedoes and 19 submarines. The "Daily News" expresses disappointment with the Estimates, on the ground that the programme is a colossal one. On the other hand, the Unionist Press is disappointed, on the ground that the programme is inadequate unless the additional powers for the construction of the four more large armoured ships mentioned are resolutely enforced.

GERMANY'S COMPETITION.

ANOTHER EXTENSIVE PROGRAMME. (Received 8.30 a.m.) BERLIN, March 14. It is reported that the Centre party is preparing a bold bid for power by giving Prince yon Buelow, Chancellor of the Empire, a safe majority for a fresh extensive Dreadnought Bill.

AUSTRALIA'S LITTLE NAVY.

TENDERS ACCEPTED. MELBOURNE, March 13. The Minister for Defence announced to-day that he had accepted the tenders of Denny Bros., Dumbarton, and of the Fairfield Shipbuilding Company, of Glasgow, for the construction of two destroyers of the river class at a cost of £81,500 each, including armaments, to be delivered in England, also a tender for the materials for a third destroyer, in* eluding armaments, at £71,500.

The first vessel will be completed in 14 and the second in 15 months, and the material for the third within 12 months from the date of the signing of the contracts. The completed destroyers will make the voyage to Australia under their own steam. The successful firms agree to employ not less than 12 nor more than 20 Australians selected and sent to England by the Commonwealth to assist in the construction of the vessels.

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THE NAVAL PROGRAMME. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 63, 15 March 1909

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