Refurbishing hazards

The furore over the GEC-Marconi input to the Nimrod 2000 (Missile deal still not settled, 20 February) matches the rest of this politicised imbecility. Fuselages a quarter of a century old are being refurbished, allegedly to save a couple of million pounds of a unit cost of some £90m. Even this looks questionable: the inside […]

The furore over the GEC-Marconi input to the Nimrod 2000 (Missile deal still not settled, 20 February) matches the rest of this politicised imbecility.

Fuselages a quarter of a century old are being refurbished, allegedly to save a couple of million pounds of a unit cost of some £90m. Even this looks questionable: the inside of the stringers is inaccessible, rendering their reproofing a tricky process that may not eliminate the seeds of corrosion. That will have another quarter-century to germinate.

The price is more certain. The number of Nimrods in our already minimal fleet will fall as aircraft are withdrawn to be converted. Our tiny reserve against accidental or action losses disappears. We can build more for export or to meet an emerging threat only with extreme difficulty and expense.

The reason for the move is that refurbishment spreads the work around many marginal constituencies, assuring the support of sitting MPs. Opponents do not publicise this to avoid antagonising the voters whose jobs are safeguarded.

Politicians of all parties are hazarding the safety of our nation, and the lives of our airmen, for selfish electoral reasons.

{{Noel FalconerHazel Grove,Stockport}}