The perceived problem with replacing the UK Royal Air Force's Canberra PR9 photo-reconnaissance aircraft with a business jet or other civil aircraft is that it will be vulnerable in the air (Flight International, 6-12 January).

However, with the advent of ever more enterprising and self-destructive terrorism, vulnerability on the ground is also an issue. I doubt that the Bombardier Global Express or any other civil platform with the requisite operational ceiling will fit in many existing hardened aircraft shelters.

A better solution might be a hardened aircraft-shelter-friendly Panavia Tornado ADV airframe with efficient Eurojet EJ200 engines and the huge Foxhunter radar deleted in favour of either a more compact multimode, single-operator radar, or even just the Eurofighter Typhoon's infrared search and rack sensor and third-party targeting for self-defence. This might accommodate an excellent sensor suite and datalinks, give a better ceiling over target than the Canberra, and provide coverage of a larger area in a shorter time and the speed to run away from trouble.

Matthew Spencer Bedford, UK

Source: Flight International