A UK Defence Minister has been forced to admit that his department has ‘lost’ their copy of a key safety review on Tornado aircraft undertaken in 1996.
Moray MP Angus Robertson has been putting pressure on the Minister of Defence over why they failed to install vital collision warning equipment on the Lossiemouth-based jets when all other military aircraft had such a safety measure fitted as standard.
It emerged that such equipment was recommended for Tornado jets in 1996 but rejected by defence chiefs – however, following another series of questions in the House of Commons by the Mr Robertson, who is also the SNP spokesman on defence, UK Defence Minister Philip Dunne was forced to admit that no copy of the 1996 report could be found.
Mr Robertson said that was an “astonishing” admission and the latest in a series of revelations that “paint a picture of a cavalier and cost-cutting approach to safety in the RAF”.
The Moray MP has been raising the issue as a decision is being awaited from the procurator fiscal on if a fatal accident inquiry will be held over the deaths of three airmen when two Tornado jets collided over the Moray Firth as they returned to their Moray base in 2012.
Mr Robertson said: “This revelation that the MoD no longer has a copy of the Tornado Air-worthiness review is frankly shocking.
“Are we really expected to take them on their word that they’ve addressed all the safety concerns in the review but they can’t tell us what these issues where?”
Mr Robertson’s latest questions centred on the ejection seat system fitted to Tornado jets.
In his parliamentary answer to Mr Robertson, the defence minister said: “In the absence of the report it is not possible today to re-identify the specific issue in the ejection seat that recommendation 95 was intended to address.
“What is clear is that by March 1998 the issue had been satisfactorily addressed and this had been briefed to the relevant RAF personnel.
“Recommendation 95 was considered closed, as were all of the recommendations arising from the Tornado Airworthiness Review.”