Renewed pledge to fit safety features on Moray-based fighters

More clashes over safety system for Tornado

Defence ministers faced another barrage of questions on Monday over delays in fitting safety systems on fast jets operating out of RAF Lossiemouth.

The latest exchanges came during defence questions in the House of Commons as Moray MP Angus Robertson pressed on why just eight Tornado jets had so far been fitted with a new collision warning system.

Failures by the Ministry of Defence to fit TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) to their Tornado fleet were cited as a contributory factor to the 2012 crash that led to the deaths of three Lossiemouth-based airmen over the Moray Firth.

In the latest clash at Westminster defence minister Phillip Dunne insisted that fitting of such systems to the Tornado and Typhoon fleets was “exceptionally complicated”, adding that the RAF’s Tornado jets would be the first combat fleet anywhere in the world that had such a system fitted.

However, Mr Robertson said that this came 20 years after recommendations on the fitting of the safety measures had first been proposed for the Tornado. He said: “Three of my constituents from RAF Lossiemouth were killed and a fourth was seriously injured when two Tornados collided above the Moray Firth.

“That occurred nearly 20 years after the MoD recommended the installation of collision warning systems.

“Is it really true that only eight of the 100 Tornado aircraft have had such a system installed, that they are not fully operational and there are no concrete plans for such a system to be installed in the Typhoon fleet?”

Responding the minister confirmed that eight aircraft had been fitted with the system, but that the MoD were “working to iron out some of the residual issues with that system” as it is installed on the Tornado fleet.

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