BAE Systems' second prototype Nimrod MRA4 maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft conducted its second sortie on 21 December, less than a week after making its 2h debut flight from the company's Woodford site.

Dubbed PA02, the mission system development aircraft flew to BAE's Warton plant in Lancashire on 15 December, and is scheduled to return to Woodford on 6 January for continued testing.

The company's first MRA4 prototype (PA01) is undergoing ground resonance testing at Warton, having so far conducted six flights in support of aerodynamics and engine testing. This number includes the first flight of the type by a Royal Air Forcepilot last November. "In PA02 we've incorporated the fixes that we developed flying PA01," says BAE.

A third prototype will join the risk-reduction campaign in mid-2005, with flight trials set to run through 2006-7. The UK Ministry of Defence will then decide whether to continue with its planned acquisition of about 12 MRA4s, with the type expected to enter service from 2009.



Source: Flight International