This coroner has no power to implement his decision.
However, this is serious, you cannot expect the general public to see it any other way.
I agree that the problem stems from the very hurried conversion for AAR
gear, with all the associated plumbing, during the Falklands War, allowing coverage of the S.Atlantic from Ascension Island.
Something done with this urgency is a lash up, there were plenty of these, however, these others were not still in use a quarter of a century later.
Even then, it seems another factor was the greatly increased tempo of AAR
ops, in recent years.
Post Falklands, actual use of the AAR
was rare, not really used for Nimrods primary role then, ASW in the Atlantic.
The odd deployment exercise, not much more.
All this changed in recent years, with the type now doing largely overland work, in the recce/ELINT/C3 role, often needing to be on station for extended periods, so much more use of AAR
Not only in Iraq, as we saw from this terrible loss, over Afghanistan too, I'd bet the distances from base here meant even more AAR
, with gear quickly assembled/fabriacted way back in Spring 1982.
Could it also be the case that support levels declined, what with these new, challenging tasking, while the RAF lost people, had reviews, changes, helped worsen the situation?
Plus let's face it, the aircraft was aging.
Then perhaps the final act in this tragedy, the severe delays to the replacement, the Nimrod MRA.4.
Had that kept to schedule, very likely this accident would not have happened, since that airframe would not have been flying, in that mod state at least.
MRA.4 is effectively a new aircraft, hence conversions getting new serial numbers.
But, to get it past the Treasury in 1996. making it a conversion of existing airframes was proposed, they'll think it's cheaper by default, can say we have not funded a brand new ASW type now the USSR
But they clearly did not take on board that each MR
.2 to MRA.4 only left the original fuselage pressure shell, everything else was new, inside and out.
Clearly, a new production MRA.4 (which BAE said they could do), would have been quicker, cheaper, since the main delays to MRA.4 have, it seems, in areas like re-joining new wings to the original fuselage.
During this period, as costs escalated, the Nimrod MR
.2 fleet was reduced further, meaning each remaining airframe was used more, as these new missions emerged.
Since Nimrods are still being used over Afghanistan, but AAR
has been suspended, it could be that they are being supplemented by some of those UAV's the RAF has got quickly under Urgent Operational Requirements, supplementing the formal 'Watchkeeper' procurement.
What to do now? Could it be possible to rush newly completed MRA.4's into service, albeit fitted for the Afghanistan mission, leaving equipment for the main ASW mission until the fleet builds in numbers?
Finally, this must be hellish for those loved ones of the ill fated crew, they have every right to be angry on the broader aspects to this case, never mind specifics we can talk about safely here.
While understanding the sentiments, I could not though agree with one of them who stated that Nimrod should be grounded whatever the effects for the troops on the ground.
Since the danger the troops face is in another league, if the MoD are right in that they have identified and corrected the main risk factors and have increased maintenance schedules to account for the issues raised by the accident-only if
that really is the case though.