In a number of remarkably frank interviews published by MFR, airman currently taking part in Exercise Joint Warrior our of RAF Lossiemouth have admitted that Nimrod is sorely missed – with a Norwegian airman going so far as to admit that his nation feels under greater pressure as a result of the UK Government decision to scrap Nimrod in 2010.
Lieutenant Colonel Bjørn Gohn-Hellum told the radio broadcaster: “After the UK’s decision to phase out the Nimrod, we in Norway feel we have put more pressure on the Norwegian aircraft to deliver.
“We are now the only NATO airborne intelligence and surveillance asset operating in the region and in the Barents Sea.”
A member of the officers responsible for planning Joint Warrior, Squadron Leader Lloyd Barrett is also a former navigator on Nimrod. He told MFR: “For the exercise it’s not such a problem because the allies step in, in great numbers.
“Outside of Exercise Joint Warrior the Royal Navy does notice not having maritime patrol aircraft on a daily basis to train with. We’ve kept a small cadre of individuals with a Nimrod background.
“We have 23 in the United States of America, nine in Canada, five in New Zealand and four in Australia.
“We’re keeping the experience of how to operate a future maritime or multi-mission patrol aircraft, and then, if which ever government decides to go back into that game and buy a future aircraft, we’ll have a core of people who know how to use them.”
Earlier this week Moray’s MP, Angus Robertson, wrote to defence minister Andrew Murrison who was visiting RAF Lossiemouth, highlighting what he called the “appalling” track record his ministry had in Scotland.