The first BAE Systems Nimrod MRA4 was rolled out on 16 August at BAE Systems' Woodford site in preparation for its first flight, which is planned by year-end (Flight International, 23-29 July).

The aircraft is the first of three in the delayed development programme. The aircraft is one of 18 which will be delivered to the UK's Royal Air Force between 2004 and 2007 as it rebuilds the current Nimrod MR2s. The MRA4 retains the fuselage pressure shell and empennage of the MR2 but features Rolls-Royce BR710 engines, replacing the MR2's R-R Speys, in addition to new wings and mission system. Four Nimrods are in final assembly at Woodford.

The MRA4s are being procured to meet the UK's maritime patrol, reconnaissance, intelligence and strike requirements. The programme has been hit by a number of setbacks, including running two years behind schedule and the RAF earlier this year cutting its commitment from 21 to 18 aircraft.


Source: Flight International