A defence expert has claimed that an independent Scotland would be unable to evacuate oil workers from emergencies abroad.
The UK Government was able to send aircraft and ships to rescue Scottish oil and gas workers from Libya in 2011, as well as other volatile events overseas.
A new report on the military implications of independence, by King’s College professor Andrew Dorman, suggests Scottish employees could be left in the future if the nation was independent.
His essay raises a number of other issues as well, including a claim that the number of Typhoon fighter jets at Lossiemouth would have to rise from the SNP’s proposed 16 to 30 to properly protect Scotland’s airspace.
Prof Dorman also says that a “no” vote in September’s referendum is likely to lead to Scottish base closures and historic units being scrapped amid fears of another referendum.
On evacuation procedures, he said: “Scotland, like the rest of the United Kingdom, has a significant number of citizens working overseas, many of them connected to the oil and gas industry or the Scottish churches.
“Over the years the United Kingdom has had to organise a series of evacuations of its citizens as a result of natural disasters, wars and other destabilising events.”
He added: “The forces currently planned for an independent Scotland by the SNP would be unable to furnish a comparable capability to that currently provided by the United Kingdom.
“There will therefore be far less certainty for those Scottish citizens living abroad about their chances of evacuation should need arise.”
However, the professor also delivered a bleak assessment of Scotland’s military prospects if the vote is against independence.
“In the 2010 review the Scottish regiments were protected despite their poor recruitment record,” he said.
“After the referendum result the government will need to decide whether it will continue to placate Scotland to the detriment of England or whether the Scots will lose further units, including the Scottish Division whose viability looks increasingly untenable.
“The same issue will also play out in respect of base closures, equipment orders and support contracts.”
Labour MP Gemma Doyle said: “This is yet another intervention from an expert making clear the failure of the nationalists to provide any credible policies on defence in a separate Scotland.”
SNP MP Angus Robertson said: “Normal countries make their own defence and security decisions and Scotland will be able to do the same following a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum.”