More Dangerous Madness: Impending Destruction of Nimrod MRA4 Fleet

Today, Monday 24 January, the destruction of the entire Nimrod MRA4 maritime reconnaissance aircraft fleet is scheduled to begin and this £3.5 Bn programme of 9 aircraft will be terminated just as its (admittedly troubled and delayed) development programme is complete and when it is on the point of entering into service.

Without Nimrod it will not be possible to:

  • Clear the path for Trident submarines leaving the Clyde, leaving them highly vulnerable to attack before they can reach the deep ocean.  The same is true, to some extent, for the Hunter Killer fleet.
  • Track shipping around our coasts, thus leaving us open to terrorist attack (against, for example, the North Sea Oil Rigs), undetected pollution by passing shipping, and, in the event of war, submarine blockade.
  • Carry out effective anti-piracy patrols off the horn of Africa, in the South China Sea, or anywhere else.
  • Deploy an effective force of anti-submarine frigates, which require support from Nimrod-type reconnaissance aircraft to give warning of aerial and seaborne attacks.
  • Police fishing around our shores, or around the Falkland Islands.
  • Ensure that oil exploration around the Falklands remains unmolested.

The money saved by scrapping the Nimrod will only be about £100 M a year over the next 20 years i.e. one sixth of the cost of Olympic Games Building, or one quarter of the £500 M per year the government aims to save from scrapping the Educational Maintenance Allowance for 17 and 18 year-olds.

Only the UK Secretary of Defence, Liam Fox, can put a halt to this madness, which affects our allies, the USA in particular, as well as ourselves.  All readers who are so minded, please contact Mr Fox at the Ministry of Defence, 5th Floor, Zone A, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2HB, or go to Ministry of Defence website “Ask a Minister”.

David MacDonald (former Racal/Thales project manager for the Searchwater radar fitted in the Nimrod MRA4s)

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