Echoes of Columbia in RAF Nimrod incident report

In 2006 a RAF Nimrod aircraft exploded over Afghanistan with the loss of all crew. The UK Government commisioned an independant review of the incident, and the findings were published on the 28th October 2009. The full report can be downloaded here. Reporting from the BBC provides an overview of the incident and report.

The main subtitle of the report, THE LOSS OF RAF NIMROD XV230: A FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP, CULTURE AND PRIORITIES, gives a strong idea of the thrust of the reports conclusions. The author has been very direct in his criticism of two main contractors (BAE Systems and Qinetiq) as well as RAF personel and UK Government. The reports publication has already led to the resignation of the CEO of Qinetiq.

You can browse the report yourself online, however I encourage a look at Chapter 17, beginning page 447 entitled “COLUMBIA and Other Lessons”, where the author of the Nimrod report draws direct parallels between the “organisational causes of the loss of Nimrod XV230 and the organisational causes of the loss of the NASA Space Shuttle ‘Columbia’” and quotes extensively the Columbia CAIB report. The Nimrod report author also looks at several other tragic yet avoidable incidents.

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