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27 January 2011, 09:56
Contraversial plans to scrap the RAF Nimrod surveillance planes have been criticised by former defence chiefs. The decision to scrap the £4bn fleet was taken on cost grounds as part of the Governments strategic defence and security review. The planes will be broken up at BAE Systems at Woodford in Stockport
Unite national officer Bernie Hamilton said: ``The lunatics have taken over the asylum when the Government orders the Ministry of Defence to break-up #4 billion worth of world-class defence equipment.
``The decision to scrap the Nimrod leaves a huge gap in the UK's defence capability and is a betrayal of the workers that played a part in its manufacture.''
A Ministry of Defence spokeperson responded: ``Ministers and service chiefs have made clear that the decision in October's SDSR not to bring the Nimrod MRA4 into service was difficult, but it will not be reversed and the dismantling process is under way. The severe financial pressures and the urgent need to bring the defence programme into balance meant we could not retain all existing programmes.
``We will continue joint maritime patrol activities with our allies and will ensure the integrity of UK waters by utilising a range of other military assets, including Type 23 frigates, Merlin anti-submarine warfare helicopters and Hercules C-130 aircraft.''