Entire RAF Nimrod fleet 'should be grounded'
The age of the aircraft, maintenance policy and not paying attention to how the upgraded systems have changed over the years.
The fleet had "never been airworthy", Andrew Walker said, recording narrative verdicts at the Oxford hearing.
The men died when a reconnaissance plane exploded after air-to-air refuelling in Afghanistan in 2006.
Armed forces minister Bob Ainsworth apologised to the families of those who died but insisted the Nimrod was safe.
The RAF's most senior engineer, Air Marshal Sir Barry Thornton, said serious design failures highlighted by the coroner had now been eradicated.
The Nimrod is a maritime patrol aircraft developed in the United Kingdom. It is an extensive modification of the de Havilland Comet, the world's first jet airliner. It was originally designed by de Havilland's successor, Hawker Siddeley, now part of BAE Systems. A major modification was the fit of a large weapon bay under the fuselage that can carry and drop torpedoes, mines, bombs and other stores. Sonobuoys for tracking submarines are dropped from special launchers in the rear of the fuselage.
On 4 December 2007 the report of the findings of the official Board of Enquiry into the loss of XV230 was published.
The Board believed that the No 7 tank dry bay was the most likely location for the seat of the fire, with the most probable cause being escaped fuel contacting a Supplementary Conditioning Pack (SCP) airpipe at 400 degrees Celsius "...after entering a gap between two types of insulation". Four separate factors were listed as contributing to the accident: 
- Age of the aircraft;
- Maintenance policy;
- Failure of hazard analysis and lack of a fire detection and suppression system;
- Not identifying the full implications of successive changes to the fuel system and associated procedures.
Links into the full report on the XV230 accident can be found here 
The coroner who led the inquest into these deaths stated that the entire Nimrod fleet had "never been airworthy from the first time it was released to service" and ruled that they should be grounded