The size of damages BAE Systems has agreed to pay the UK Ministry of Defence because of delays in the £2.4 billion ($3.6 billion) Nimrod MRA4 maritime patrol aircraft programme have been revealed.


Problems with the programme, related mainly to rebuilding 21 elderly fuselages and fitting wings equipped with new Rolls-Royce BR710 engines, have caused the projected in-service date of the Nimrod MRA4 to slip from April 2003 to 2005, although first delivery is due in August 2004.

BAE has also pulled in structural subcontract work from Cobham's FRAviation, and handed over £32 million in compensation. Work is now concentrated at Woodford.

According to the National Audit Office's Major Projects Report, released earlier this month (Flight International, 11-17 July), BAE has agreed to liquidated damages of £46 million, which will increase if revised milestones are not met.

BAE has also agreed to improve the aircraft specification, including a change to flat screen monitors and "other changes which should benefit the MoD".

The new screens will help the manufacturer's weight reduction programme, but the MoD has still had to relax its requirements allowing the aircraft to meet the key time-on-station specification. The MoD has reduced the required fuel reserve and limited in-service weight growth potential to 2,260kg (5,000lb).

An NAO source says it is "encouraging" that BAE and the MoD recognised the problems at an early stage and that "they have done something positive".

Source: Flight International