Ron Holley retired from the services in 1987 as a rear admiral, having worked as director of helicopter projects at the MoD. He was responsible for buying helicopters for the three armed services. He later advised Shell on aviation safety after 45 of its staff died in a Chinook crash near Shetland in the North Sea.
He is the most senior former military figure to criticise the RAF's finding of gross negligence against the pilots of ZD576, the Chinook Mk2 which crashed on the Mull of Kintyre in June 1994, ten years ago this week.
Holley said, "It is ridiculous and grotesque that the pilots were blamed. It is not possible to blame the pilots. The evidence does not exist."