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Threat to Nimrod MRA4 revealed


In a leaked letter UK Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox reveals threat to the RAF’s Nimrod programme.

September 29: In a leaked letter to the Daily Telegraph, UK Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox tells the Prime Minister David Cameron that the Ministry of Defence’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) may have “grave political consequences” for the Coalition government and is in danger of becoming a “super Comprehensive Spending Review”.

One of the few examples singled out by Fox in his letter is the Royal Air Force’s latest maritime reconnaissance aircraft, Nimrod MRA4, where he states “Deletion of the Nimrod MR4 will limit our ability to deploy maritime forces rapidly into high-threat areas, increase the risk to the Deterrent, compromise maritime CT (counter terrorism), remove long range search and rescue, and delete one element of our Falklands reinforcement plan.” To mention the MRA4 to the exclusion of any other procurement programme suggests that a decision to axe the entire programme is imminent, with the consequent impact on RAF Kinloss in Moray as well as hundreds of BAE Systems employees at Woodford, near Stockport in Greater Manchester.

“Party, media, military and the international reaction will be brutal if we do not recognise the dangers and continue to push for such draconian cuts at a time when we are at war,” says Fox in the letter. It was written the night before the National Security Council (NSC) meeting on SDSR yesterday, at which it is thought the Prime Minister instructed more time be given to the review, due for publication in ‘late October’.

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