• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

MoD: Tornado alert system was identified

A POTENTIAL collision warning system was identified but not installed four years before two jets crashed into one another over the Moray Firth, claiming the lives of three RAF crew and seriously injuring a fourth, the Ministry of Defence has admitted.

Squadron Leader Sam Bailey, 35, and Flight Lieutenants Hywel Poole, 28, and Adam Sanders, 27, died when two Tornado aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth collided in July 2012.

In a parliamentary answer to Angus Robertson, the SNP leader at Westminster, Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, said a "commercial off-the-shelf traffic collision avoidance system was identified as a potential solution to the department's requirement for a collision warning system on the Tornado GR4 fast jet fleet" as part of its 2008 annual planning process at a cost of £59 million.

He added that approval for a collision avoidance system, costing £53m, was given in October 2012, three months after the Tornados tragedy. Flight trials will begin next spring with an in-service date by December 2014.

The MoD said the service inquiry was now complete and a copy of the report had gone to the procurator fiscal, who would determine whether or not a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) would be held.

Mr Robertson said: "The findings of the inquiry are now a matter for the procurator fiscal and we await confirmation whether an FAI 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."

He went on: "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 all lessons are learned from the Tornado collision over the Moray Firth."

The Moray MP added: "I know this has already been a top priority for personnel at RAF Lossiemouth."

Last night an MoD spokesman said: "There are already a range of mitigation measures in place to minimise the risk of mid-air collision and tragic incidents such as that in Moray are extremely rare.

"A specifically designed Tornado collision warning system, which will be another tool for pilots to use, is currently being trialled and will be in service next year."

Contextual targeting label: 
Transport Tragedy

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.