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New Air Safety Body To Be Launched

New Body To Be Regulated By Military Aviation Authority


A deadly crash over Afghanistan which killed 14 UK servicemen will lead to a new air safety body for the military being set up by April 2010, announced Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth.

It will be regulated by the independent Military Aviation Authority, which will audit all military aviation activity.

The new body was among several recommendations made by Charles Haddon-Cave QC in his report into the Nimrod MR2 crash in September 2006.

The plane, known as XV230, exploded in mid-air just minutes after refuelling.

Setting out the Government's response to the report, Mr Ainsworth told the Commons an RAF police investigation was under way following the report that named two serving RAF officers.

The Defence Secretary also said a review was under way into contract conditions between the Ministry of Defence and industry.

"I regret enormously the deaths of those on the XV230, and apologise for the part my department played in failing to prevent that," Mr Ainsworth said.

"The measures I have announced reflect my personal commitment to improving the safety of military aviation and the safety of our Armed Forces."

Mr Haddon-Cave's report earlier this year strongly criticised the Ministry of Defence (MoD), BAE Systems and QinetiQ.

It concluded the accident was preventable and said a safety review of the ageing Nimrod fleet completed a year earlier had been a "lamentable job" that was "riddled with errors" and failed to identify serious design flaws which led to the crash.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Andrew Tucker from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, who represented all 14 of the Nimrod Families at the Inquest, said: "I fully support the new proposals to be introduced by the MoD and hope they will improve the safety standards for military aviation. It is vital that we ensure the safety of Service personnel, particularly those who already working in difficult conditions while deployed on Operations."