BAE Systems has signed a revised contract with the UK Ministry of Defence covering its continued development of the UK's delayed Nimrod MRA4 maritime patrol aircraft. The agreement is intended to reduce the burden of risk borne by the prime contractor, which has now paid off two exceptional charges incurred as a result of earlier project difficulties. The first MRA4 is due to fly later this year. The company has the conclusion of four-nation negotiations on Tranche 2 production of the Eurofighter Typhoon among its top 10 priorities this year, but hints that a contract signature could be delayed into 2005. BAE reported before interest profits of £980 million ($1.8 billion)from 2003 sales worth £12.5 billion. The company had a record order book worth £46 billion and predicts further improvement this year.

Source: Flight International