Army chiefs 'ignored warnings' spy plane was unsafe to fly

The Ministry of Defence is bracing itself for what is set to be the most damaging allegations so far over failure to provide service personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan with adequate equipment. An inquest this week into 14 men who died when an ageing Nimrod spy plane exploded in mid-air in 2006 will hear evidence that the MoD ignored repeated warnings from RAF pilots and ground crew that the planes were unsafe to fly.

The explosion – the single biggest military loss of life since the Falklands war – was caused when leaking fuel ignited after coming into contact with an uninsulated hot air pipe. In December the MoD took the unusual step of admitting responsibility for the accident, and the Secretary of State for Defence, Des Browne, apologised to the families.

Coroners have repeatedly heard evidence of insufficient and inadequate equipment for service men and women. Last week, an inquest into the death of Richard Watson, 23, heard how he was shot dead while travelling in a lightly armoured vehicle because the more heavily armoured Vikings were not available.

Last month, the High Court ruled sending troops into battle without proper equipment could breach their human rights. An inquest into the death from dehydration of Jason Smith, a reservist, in Basra in 2003, revealed inadequate medical procedures and advice on dealing with the risk.

Also last month the inquest into the 10 service personnel who died when a Hercules transport plane was shot down in April 2005 was adjourned until September. The plane should have been fitted with explosion-suppressant foam, families argue.

Later this month the MoD will face another legal challenge, when the mother of a soldier killed by a bomb that destroyed a Land Rover will argue the vehicles should not have been used as they were inadequately armoured.

Julian Lewis, a shadow defence minister, said: "We should fully fund the conflicts we have undertaken, and that has not happened."

A MoD spokesman said: "We have delivered equipment valued at more than £10bn in the last three years. We are responsive to operational requirements and have invested heavily in developing our equipment."

Fit for purpose?

Land Rovers: Soft-topped Land Rovers have been identified as vulnerable to roadside bombs.

Electronic Counter-Measures: Army said to have failed to fit Land Rovers with devices that can prevent roadside bombs detonating.

Warrior armoured vehicles: Armour plated on top and sides, but not underneath.

Hercules: Inquest heard the Hercules aircraft shot down in 2005 should have been fitted with explosion-suppressant foam.

Duty of care: Private Jason Smith died of dehydration in Basra in 2003. Inquest heard the wrong medical advice had been given.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world