The gripping intro to the written BBC report begins
In a distant corner of a fenced-off site in Cheshire a fleet of Nimrod MRA4 warplanes which cost taxpayers more than £4bn are being turned into scrap.
The video footage on the main News bulletin that night http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12281640 certainly made The Lad wince. It was shot from a helicopter and showed an area surrounded by high tarpaulin and steel screens between two hangars. Within are the tattered chunks of a fuselage heaped beside another Nimrod that is clearly to be the next victim of the advancing dinosaur of a demolition machine. Both the remnants and the more-or-less complete aircraft shell have the matt, olive sheen of the treated aluminium skin of a part-finished aircraft. The RR engines have already been removed and they will at least have been saved for use in some other aircraft.
Was it wanton mindless destruction, or, as Unite’s John Fussey described it, the dismantling as ‘barbaric vandalism’?
It is fortunate that engineering design is not a function like entropy that can only be degraded by use. If it had been, then the destruction of these planes without going into service [that is some sort of use] would be more painful still. But bring the attentions of these engineers that worked on the Nimrod to another project and they will fire up other ideas into reality.
This report says that the project was 10 years in the making. The Lad has read somewhere else rather that they were 10 years late in delivery. The Wikipedia story, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BAE_Systems_Nimrod_MRA4 , is very detailed and seems to confirm his memory. This and £4 billion of sunk costs and £2 billion to operate are eye watering and show that this is not a good engineering project. Whether it is the MoD or BAe that is to blame for beginning and sustaining this project is an entirely different question.