The Ministry of Defence have admitted that a collision warning system in use on almost all aircraft flown by the RAF was not fitted to Tornado jets – despite the requirement being identified four years before the collision over the Moray Firth last year that took the lives of three airmen and severely injured another.
A parliamentary question on the issue posed by Moray’s MP and the SNP Spokesman on Defence, Angus Robertson, has revealed that a commercial off-the-shelf collision avoidance system had been identified as part of an MoD planning process in 2008.
It is anticipated that the lack of any collision warning system would feature in a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) over the crash – although the decision on if such an inquiry is held is yet to be made, with Mr Robertson being told: “The service inquiry is now complete and a copy of the report has been provided to the Procurator Fiscal, who determines if a FAI will be held and sets the date.”
The reply added that a Tornado traffic collision avoidance system has now been developed and is expected to achieve initial operating capability by the end of 2014.
Mr Robertson said: “The findings of the inquiry are now a matter for the Procurator Fiscal and we await confirmation whether a Fatal Accident Inquiry will be held.
“No doubt the absence of a collision avoidance system in Tornado fast jets will be an important consideration and these parliamentary answers from the Ministry of Defence shed light on the issue.
“As in all tragic cases which involved the death and injury of service personnel our thoughts must be with those directly and indirectly affected. Whatever conclusions are reached by the Procurator Fiscal it is imperative that all lessons are learnt from the Tornado collision over the Moray Firth”.
“I know that this has already been a top priority for personnel at RAF Lossiemouth.”