The government reveal that a last ditch attempt to stall the scrapping of the Nimrod jets has come too late.
Six former Armed Forces chiefs signed a letter to the Daily Telegraph condemning the decision to dismantle the fleet of air craft in the hope that action be delayed until the defence select committee had published its report on the matter.
Signatories to the open letter, including Marshal of the RAF Lord Craig who formally occupied the roles of both Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Air Staff, said the move to axe the project would save millions of pounds but would leave a massive gap in British security.
According to the letter, long-range reconnaissance, anti-submarine surveillance, air-sea rescue and support for the Navy’s Trident submarines will all be compromised by losing the jets.
The controversial government plans to scrap the planes were announced last year as part of the Strategic Defence Review and the Ministry of Defence has confirmed the decision would not be reversed.
Four billion pounds had already been spent building the fleet of nine Nimrod MRA4s, a building programme which many argue was halted closer to the end phase than the starting point. One jet was ready for use, three were 90 per cent ready and five were almost half way to completion.
Hidden away in a fenced-off site in Cheshire large screens hide the planes from public view as they are broken down by private salvage firms and the parts recycled.
Was the government rash to scrap the programme half way through?