BAE 'hid full scale of Nimrod danger'
29 October 2009
Although the Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth apologised on behalf of the Ministry of Defence over the Nimrod crash in Afghanistan that killed 14 members of the armed forces, its "business partners" BAE Systems and QinetiQ Group were also severely criticised in the report by lawyer Charles Haddon-Cave.
Calling the safety management of both BAE and QinetiQ between 2001 and 2005 "lamentable from start to finish", Haddon-Cave reported how BAE worked very hard at "building a wall of denial and obfuscation".
The most damning accusation of the report is that although the Royal Air Force had expressed concerns about the safety of their Nimrods, BAE Systems carried out a safety check that was not only "riddled with errors" but "gave the misleading impression ... that the task had been properly completed and could be signed off".
Haddon-Cave said that BAE deliberately hid the scale of the problem from its customer and the lawyer said this behaviour "raised question marks about the prevailing ethical culture at BAE Systems". He added: "The company demonstrated incompetence, complacency and cynicism. The responsibility for this must lie with the leadership of the company."
In particular, Haddon-Cave named BAE's chief airworthiness engineer Chris Lowe, task leader Richard Oldfield and Eric Prince, flight systems and avionics manager. The pressure is almost certainly going to mount for them to "consider their positions" as Ainsworth put it.
However, still not admitting any liability, BAE Systems issued this statement: "The cause of the accident will never finally be determined. The company will consider and assess how best to support the Ministry of Defence in the implementation of the recommendations for improving processes to further enhance the operational safety of aircraft in military use."
For QinetiQ, Haddon-Cave said the company's approach was "fundamentally lax and compliant" and he named and shamed task manager Martyn Mahy, and technical assurance manager Colin Blagrove. Again, the company statement admitted nothing and did not contain an apology.
The company said: "Given the breadth and depth of Mr Haddon-Cave's report, QinetiQ wishes to take time to digest the report fully before making any detailed response. We want to emphasise that QinetiQ will seek to learn from all that the report says."
HAVE YOUR SAY
30 October 2009
Having been an ex-raf engineer, we were trained to always work to the highest standards, as lives were at risk if we didnt!!!
To see that faults with the aging nimrods were deliberately ignored and hidden, is nothing short of murder!!!
Yes heads should roll at bae at least, if the offenders arnt sued for negligence then that is a travesty, for the 14 airmen that died in the crash.yours disgusted!!!
derek freeman - newport, UK
31 October 2009
It would be hoped MP's ‘gold plated’ final salary scheme's investment portfolio isn't tied too closely to these big defence companies. If so could this appear to be too much of a conflict of interest? Given all the problems the tax payer and armed forces have experienced over the years.
Chris - Keighley
04 November 2009
If you kill a person in Afghanistan your punishment is death. This law should also apply to BAE, as they are a corrupt and useless organisation who talk better that politicians. Say a lot but admit to nothing. A BIG heap of bull.
Why does the government not charge these individual with negligence resulting in the death of 14 of the finest, who lost their lives to keep these individual and high paying positions at BAE.
Albert Hellweg - Australia, ex. Laos where there was no war.