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Sir James Killen served as Australian Minister of Defence from 1975 - 1982 in the Fraser Liberal Government. He undertook a major review of Australian Defence Forces.

In early 1979, the fourth year of his Ministership, problems occurred with the launch of HMAS Fremantle which was the first of a class of FCPB dedicated patrol boats. This was partly due doing the launch in blizzard conditions, but also due to problems of overweight. The successful introduction of the class was delayed until 17th March 1980 with the final farewell to the Fremantle class occurring on 23rd June, 2005.