MAA to bring 'cultural as well as organisational change'

London
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UK military aviation will feel a cultural as well as organisational change when the new Military Aviation Authority goes fully operational on 1 April 2011, says its director general Air Marshal Timo Anderson.

Anderson has been formally in charge since April following the announcement of the MAA in December 2009, and he is assembling a team that will eventually number about 250 people.

The decision to set up an independent MAA was announced following publication of the independent Haddon-Cave report into the circumstances surrounding the loss of a Royal Air Force BAE Systems Nimrod MR2 over Afghanistan in 2006.

All 18 crew on board died in the disaster, which had been caused by a known technical problem. Now it has been made clear that the MAA will also be responsible for a single, tri-service Military Air Accident Investigation Branch.

Anderson says the hallmark of the cultural change he refers to is complete internal transparency, combined with clear lines of responsibility for duty holders. "It isn't just about rewriting the rulebook," he says, "but the rulebook will need to be rewritten."

Anderson is supported by an operating director and a technical director, responsible respectively for operations, flight test and air traffic management, and technical regulations, organisational approvals and - eventually - military aircraft type certification.

The MAA will definitely be effective in its oversight and auditing role, Anderson insists, rejecting suggestions that the organisation would be disempowered when confronted by active combat imperatives. He explains: "I find it difficult to see a situation in which any party would see fit to ignore MAA advice."

Units passing an audit would be issued with a letter of endorsement, and the endorsement can be withdrawn if standards fall, he makes clear.