Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nimrod crash report damns MOD

An independant report into the Nimrod crash in Afghanistan in 2006 that claimed the lives of 14 service personnel has blamed cost-cutting by the MOD which contributed to a culture that sacrificed safety. Charles Haddon-Cave's report blasted the MOD, BAE Systems and QinetiQ for the poor job it made in conducting a safety review into the Nimrod MR2. Haddon-Cave blamed an "organisational trauma" in the MOD as a result of the 1998 Strategic Defence Review which caused cost and not safety to be the top priority.

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth has admitted the MOD failed and apologied to the families of those who died when XV230 crashed. Meanwhile the head of QinetiQ has resigned though it is claimed to be unrelated to the Nimrod report. QinetiQ were blamed in the report for failing to check BAE Systems work on the Nimrod and their claims as to the aircraft's safety.

XV230 caught fire while being inflight-refuelled when leaking fuel came into contact with a hot air pipe. A safety review conducted a year before the crash was said to be riddled with errors and did not identify design flaws which led to the accident.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Return to MARS

The MOD is returning to the MARS (Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability) programme to replace the tanker fleet just 6 months after ending the previous attempt at the programme. Up to 6 new tankers were planned for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary by around the mid-part of the next decade under the old plans.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Government to U-turn on TA cuts?

Following the ridiculous decision to cut training for the Territorial Army to save £20 million many of the reservists said they would leave the TA and warned that they would not be adequately prepared to serve in Afghanistan where they make up up to 10% of the British troops serving there at any one time. Now the MOD has found a few million to retain drill nights. Much training has already been cut back though, for the sake of a rather small saving in the whole scheme of things. It honestly does begger belief.

Update (27/10/09) : And indeed the government has made a total U-turn on these cuts. Of course the question is now who is going to lose out instead.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Defender launched

Defender, the latest Type 45 destroyer, has been launched into the Clyde. The fifth T45 will now be completed and begin sea trials ahead of an expected entry into service with the RN in 2012. That just leaves one T45 outstanding to be launched. If only it was 12 that was going to be built as originally decided.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jetstreams perform flypast as replacement arrives

After 30 years of service the Royal Navy's Jetstreams are due for replacement by King Air 350s by 2011. But to celebrate 30 years of service the RN's observer training aircraft performed a flypast at RNAS Culdrose.

The first of the replacements has already been delivered. The first of 4 King Air 350s (which will replace 9 Jetstreams) was unveiled at Culdrose. The King Airs will have enhanced training facilities thanks to Tactical Mission Training software which can overlay "virtual" targets on the real targets displayed on student's screens.

CVF progress

Rolls-Royce have delivered the first parts in it's £96 million contract to supply equipment for the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. A pair of Neptune stabilising fins were delivered to BVT's shipyard in Govan. Rolls Royce will also be supplying the MT30 gas turbines and propeller sysyem as well as the rudders.

Future unmanned military technologies showcased

MOD staff at Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) in Bristol were given a demonstration of some of the latest unmanned vehicle and weapon sight technologies. They included a small wheeled robot with a real-time video camera that can help troops see what is inside a building without putting themselves in harm's way. A remote controlled surveilance helicopter that could send back real-time imagery to a wrist watch monitor was also demonstrated and sounds rather James Bond doesn't it?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Territorial Army to cease training to save money

The Territorial Army is to temporarily halt training in order to save money. Weekend exercises and other training will be halted to save money, when you find out it will save £20 million you wonder just how cash strapped the MOD actually is after all. A six-month halt in training will mean that soldiers will not get paid. The change is because money is needed for operations like Afghanistan but as TA soldiers regularly serve in Afghanistan and thus will presumably need extra training when they go there how can this really save any money in reality?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

AugustaWestland get Apache support contract

AugustaWestland has won a £439 million contract from the MOD for the maintanence of the Apache helicopter fleet. The Apache Project Team based at Yeovil will be looking after the Army's 67 strong fleet.

Friday, October 2, 2009

RAF helicopter in Atlantic rescue

A Sea King SAR helicopter from RAF Valley has made a dramatic pick-up of an injured sailor on a Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal in the North Atlantic. The frigate was over 200 miles west of Ireland in rough weather, the Sea king having to be stripped of non-essential equipment to maximise the range. The sailor was airlifted off the frigate and taken to hospital in Ireland.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Engine fire on Ark Royal

HMS Ark Royal, on trials following a £12 million refit, has suffered a minor engine fire it has been reported within hours of beginning the post-refit trials. The RN say there was no damage (surely there has to have been some damage to something no matter how minor!) and no injuries. The post-refit trials are to iron out any teething-problems a spokesman added.