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Former BAE workers' call to save scrapped Nimrod planes

A group of former air workers and enthusiasts are calling on the government to save the replacement Nimrod spy planes from the scrapheap.

The multimillion-pound project to replace Nimrod MRA4 surveillance and reconnaissance planes was ditched by David Cameron in October.

Nine of the planes which were in production will now be dismantled by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Protesters have said it is a waste of more than £3bn and hundreds of jobs.

The MoD and BAE signed a contract in 1996 to build 21 planes. This was reduced to 12 and later nine.

All were due to be handed over to the RAF by 2012, but the project was scrapped in the defence review.

'Great blunder'

About 1,000 people were working on the project at Woodford and another 200 at Brough, East Yorkshire.

A further 500 in Warton, Lancashire, were due to support the planes in service.

Protesters have described the decision as the "greatest blunder in the history of the UK aircraft industry."

One of those campaigning for the planes to be saved, Brian Sergeant, was told just before Christmas that he would lose his job on the project.

He said Nimrod could still be a valuable asset.

"The aircraft is unique, it is world class, it is a multi-role platform," he said.

"It includes the traditional maritime roles but it also has intelligence gathering capabilities which are so important in today's world."

A BAE Systems spokesperson said: "As a company that has been involved in the Nimrod MRA4 programme for many years, we understand how difficult the cancellation of the programme is for some of our current and former Nimrod MRA4 employees.

"However, we accept the decision that the customer has made and are now working with the Ministry of Defence to agree and implement a termination plan for the aircraft."

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