Nimrod loss 'will be regretted', says Guernsey Governor

Image caption,
Sir Fabian said he did not understand the military thinking behind the cuts

Guernsey's departing Lieutenant Governor says the UK Government will regret scrapping the RAF Nimrod in its defence cuts.

Vice Admiral Sir Fabian Malbon said submarines, surface ships and Nimrods worked together successfully and effectively protected British waters.

He said: "It's a very clever organisational technique and we can not learn that again in five minutes.

"Once we have not being doing it for a year the capability will be lost."

He said the scrapping of the Nimrod aircraft, which were due to be flown by Guernsey's Own 201 Squadron, as part of £4.7bn of savings to be made from defence budgets over four years was a "mental aberration".

"Talking to the boys in 201 they were amazed by the capability having spent their lives in Nimrods," he said.

"Search and rescue, surveillance and most of all keeping an eye on the sea approaches to the UK - nobody else can do that, even the navy can't do that.

"We're going to regret in the years to come because other people with other submarines are going to come bowling around and we won't have a clue they are there."

Sir Fabian added: "It was unfortunate the way the procurement ran they decided to build this amazing capability into an old air frame.

"Some of these air frames were basically 40 years old they'd been done up as they went along, but the original air frame - if you like it was an analogue airplane in a digital age."

The former captain of aircraft carrier HMS Invincible said he also could not understand the decision to scrap Harrier jump jets and HMS Ark Royal, which means planes would not fly from British aircraft carriers until 2019.

Sir Fabian said he understood why his own carrier had been previously scrapped, due to a lack of manpower and aircraft, but it had been "very sad as you become part of that ship when you're on it and she just remains in your psyche".

"Once we're not flying from aircraft carriers for a year the capability will be lost, we'll have to start learning it all over again," he said.

"It's no good thinking you can just say I think we made a mistake let's start again tomorrow, you can't."

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