The report from which the extract is derived concerned the September 2006 loss in Afghanistan of RAF Nimrod aircraft XV230 and all 14 personnel aboard. This paper reviews and discusses that extract, and considers implications arising from the findings of the report.
Nimrod XV230 was the first example brought into service in 1969, so was circa 37 years old at the time of the accident, which appears to have been caused by ignition of fuel leaked during air-to-air refuelling, a problem that had occurred two years earlier on another Nimrod and – according to the report – should have resulted in safety modifications, but had not. The report blamed BAE Systems (questioning its ethics culture), MoD, the Nimrod Integrated Project Team and QinetiQ. In short, it blamed all involved other than RAF personnel including those on board, commenting that those involved had inadequately followed procedures and recommended a drastic shake-up in many procedures and practices, as well as thoroughly adhering to procedures that already exist. It suggested that (for example) if policies applicable to aircraft of this age had been properly implemented, the accident would probably never have happened. The report seemed thorough and wide-ranging in its examination of contributory causes and factors and – judging from this extract – had a major effect on procedures associated with Nimrod and other aircraft in service when published.
The implications of the report were that procedures and practices from design through procurement, safety processes and maintenance needed a drastic overhaul, changing the culture to focus more on airworthiness and less on bureaucratic objectives. A positive outcome is that there have indeed been changes made since the report, not just in safety but in other important areas.
Haddon-Cave, C. (QC). (August 2011). Extract from Haddon Cave Report into the loss of RAF Nimrod XV230. (PDF).