HC Deb 02 February 1998 vol 305 c469W
Mr. Gordon Marsden

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the results of the study called for by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch on the probability of a random mid-air collision. [27250]

Mr. Spellar

The study, by the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, concluded that the principle of `see-and-avoid' in the open Flight Information Region below 2,000 ft resolved confliction in over 99 per cent. of occasions. This implies a worst-case collision rate of 0.118 per 10,000 flying hours for single seat military fast jet aircraft and 0.005 per 10,000 flying hours for General Aviation aircraft.

The Study acknowledged that certain conspicuity measures could further increase the effectiveness of see-and-avoid. We have already initiated a programme to paint the majority of training aircraft black including the Hawk, the Tucano, the Dominie and the Jetstream; training helicopters and the Firefly aircraft are painted in a combination of yellow and black. In addition, the majority of military aircraft are being fitted with High Intensity Strobe Lights, and RAF aircraft with High Power Light Assemblies where installation is not cost prohibitive.

The Study also concludes that an effective safety enhancement would be the installation of a collision warning system to military fast jets. The procurement of CWS is under consideration as part of the Strategic Defence Review.

Flight safety is, and will remain, a key priority and we will continue to pursue initiatives that promise further improvements in that area.

Copies of the Study Report and an accompanying MOD commentary have been placed in the Libraries of the House.