The SNP has revealed a Freedom of Information release containing more disturbing evidence about Ministry of Defence failures in the installation of a collision warning system in RAF Tornado aircraft.
Dr Liam Fox, served an inglorious eighteen months as Defence Secretary [May 2010 to October 2011], during which his Strategic Defence Review decimated Britain’s armed forces.
As part of this review, he actually cancelled this necessary system – already and shamefully a twelve year old commitment. He later changed his mind, reinstating the order before departing office in the teeth of the row over the level of official access and representation improperly given to his personal assistant, Adam Werrity.
Fox had cancelled the collision warning system against the advice of the Military Aviation Authority who warned that without this system they would not be able to certify the risk of collision as being acceptable. His later reversal of the decision leaves open the possibility of further delays in getting this system in operation.
Two RAF Tornados tragically collided over the Moray Firth on 3rd July 3 2012. They were not fitted with the collision warning system – which is installed in commercial aircraft but not in military ones.
The SNP’s Westminster Leader and Defence Spokesperson, Angus Robertson MP, has been quite measured in his response. He says: ‘These new revelations are shocking and I believe that the families of the victims of the fatal Tornado crash now deserve the fullest answers and the whole truth.
‘Why did the then Secretary of State for Defence ignore the clear advice of the head of the Military Aviation Authority and cancel the installation collision warning system, only to reinstate it several months later?
‘How much delay did this add to the installation of collision warning system?
‘Was its ‘deletion’ honestly agreed to as part of cost cutting measures?
‘The MOD has a lot of questions to answer about why they do not appear to put the safety of service personnel first. Given this further information there must now be a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) .
“It is scandalous that the MoD committed to a Tornado collision warning system in the 1998, bizarrely cancelled it 12 years later, then changed its mind – but all far too late to potentially avert that fatal crash in 2012. Some 16 years on – it has still not been installed.
‘We don’t know whether such a system would definitely have stopped the collision above the Moray Firth in 2012 and saved lives, but that is what must be determined by an FAI’.