Freedom of Information reply exposes MoD failings over Tornado safety system

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has further exposed that the Ministry of Defence failed to install a potentially life-saving collision avoidance system on Tornado jets flying out of RAF Lossiemouth 15 years ago.

Last week a Parliamentary Question from Moray’s MP Angus Robertson forced the first admission from UK Government ministers that a system had been identified in 1998.

However, no action was ever taken and only in the wake of the crash involving two RAF Lossiemouth aircraft last year that saw three airmen lose their lives and another suffer serious injuries is the MoD finally ordering and fitting of the equipment.

The reply to Mr Robertson stated that a system would be fitted by the end of next year – after the disbandment of Tornado squadrons from the Moray base.

It is not yet known if a Fatal Accident Inquiry will be held over the crash off the Wick coast, with a report having been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal but not yet made public.

A retired RAF engineer and airworthiness campaigner, Jimmy Jones, secured the FOI confirmation from the MoD – and now believes that an inquiry could expose ‘long-standing MoD negligence’ towards air safety.

Recently retired RAF Tornado pilot Colin McGregor is amongst a number of current and former RAF airmen who are believed to be unhappy with the continuing failures to fit safety devices to the aircraft, Mr McGregor recent highlighting the issue on his social media account.

Now Moray’s MP and the SNP’s spokesman on defence, Angus Robertson, is saying that it is “scandalous” that the MoD committed to a collision avoidance system in the 1990’s – and had they done so the 2012 crash could have been avoided.

Mr Robertson said: “We don’t know whether such a system would definitely have stopped the collision above the Moray Firth in 2012 and saved lives, but this is certainly being considered in connection with a potential Fatal Accident Inquiry.

“I believe that the families of the victims deserve the fullest answers and the whole truth. The MOD has a lot of questions to answer about why they do not appear to put the safety of service personnel first.”

Mr Jones said: “There have been a series of near misses involving Tornados since the fatal 2012 collision.

“The MoD has a duty of care to its personnel and I believe that an inquiry could expose longstanding MoD negligence when it comes to air safety.”

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