No Nimrods in use in Afghanistan - less on Home Defence and the rest in for urgent repairs - MOD business as usual
The examining board were able to identify the most probable location of the fire, a number of probable causes of that event and factors which possibly contributed to it:
a. The escape of fuel during AAR, occasioned by an overflow from No 1 tank, or a leak from the fuel system (fuel coupling or pipe), led to an accumulation of fuel within the No 7 tank dry bay. Although of a lower probability, the fuel leak could have been caused by a hot air leak damaging fuel system seals.
b. The ignition of that fuel following contact with an exposed element of the aircraft's crossfeed/ SCP pipe work.
a. The age of the Nimrod MR2's non-structural system components.
b. Nimrod MR2 maintenance policy in relation to fuel and hot air systems.
c. The lack of a fire detection and suppression system within the No 7 tank dry bay.
d. The fact that hazard analysis did not correctly categorize the potential threat to the aircraft caused by the collocation of fuel and hot air system components within the No 7 tank dry bay.
e. The formal incorporation of AAR capability within the Nimrod did not identify the full implications of successive changes to the fuel system and associated procedures.
a. The loss of flying controls through fire damage to the hydraulic systems or cables and pulleys.
All Overseas based Nmirods withdrawn
In a written statement to the House of Commons today , Defence Minister Bob Ainsworth says overseas basd Nimrods , will be withdrawn on 31st March in order to replace engine bay hot air ducts.
The coroner at the inquest on the crew called for the entire fleet to be grounded. see post Friday, May 23, 2008 Coroner grounds entire RAF Nimrod Fleet Des Browne another Scots politician , part time Defence Minister ready for a lonely walk in the countryside ?
At the inquest last May, coroner Andrew Walker said the aircraft had "never been airworthy," but Defence Secretary Des Browne insisted they were safe to fly. but then he didn't fly in them
Shadow defence secretary Dr Liam Fox said;
"It beggars belief that even after 18 months, the MoD and its contractors have failed to modify these aircraft which are undertaking critical surveillance operations in Afghanistan," he said.The MOD blithely states that the reallocation of engineering staff from RAF Kinloss the Nimrods' home base to RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire "will cause a temporary reduction in routine UK-based Nimrod flying but will not affect our ability to protect UK interests at home," he added.(please don't let Mr Putin know that)
"It is a further example of the complete inability of this government to get a grip on their defence procurement programme."
The MoD said there would be no operational impact in Afghanistan because they plan to use other UK and coalition aircraft to cover any shortfall... without explaining why this couldnot be done previously.
If you have the stomach ... Reid sends ill equipped troops to certain deaths in S Afghanistan on Friday, January 27, 2006.