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How Effective It Is For A Nimrod To Take AAMs?

Wed Jun 05, 2002 3:12 am

I've seen a photo showing an RAF Nimrod MR1 taking two IR guided AAMs under the wings. I wonder how effective it is for an aircraft of that size to use AAMs to protect itself. Does it have the necessary radar to find the enemy fighters? Does it have the manoeuvrability to aim the missiles at them?

I've even heard that the RAF was going to fit AAMs on the Queens BAE-146, just in case of terrorist attacks.
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RE: How Effective It Is For A Nimrod To Take AAMs?

Wed Jun 05, 2002 3:31 am

This was a tempoary fit during the Falkland war, as well as a in-flight refuelling probe so that aircraft based on Ascension Island could patrol the area around the Falkland and the Argentine coast with tanker support.
Often well out of Sea Harrier range, the AIM-9's were fitted in case the Nimrod came across Argentine 707's, Electra, C-130 and Neptune aircraft also on patrol, looking for the Royal Navy.
It was not designed to engage fighters, the Nimrod's would be unlikely to encounter Argentine Mirage's, as most patrolling would also be out of fighter range from the opposing side.
If you think the AAM Nimrod was a bizarre idea, towards the end of the conflict in desperation the Argentines used a C-130 to attack supply ships well North of the Islands, trying to hit the supplies heading South.
Bombs were slid from the rear ramp, one UK chartered tanker had a bomb bounce off it's deck!
On C-130 got too near the Task Force and was shot down by a Sea Harrier, it was unclear whether it was on a 'bombing' or recce mission.
After the war, the Nimrod's pylons for the AIM-9's were retained, in case the AAM's were needed again. But also to carry ECM pods, Chaff/Flare dispenser pods and towed radar decoys, this practice began during the 1991 Gulf War.
Anti-ship missiles can be carried in the bomb bay.
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RE: How Effective It Is For A Nimrod To Take AAMs?

Wed Jun 05, 2002 5:13 am

The new Nimrod 2000 or MRA4 has been designed to carry missiles too. I believe that there is the facility to take two on each wing. There has been severe weight problems with the design of the new wing (too heavy), so if there was no need for it I'm sure that the the missiles would have been an easy option to omit.
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RE: How Effective It Is For A Nimrod To Take AAMs?

Wed Jun 05, 2002 5:14 am

I've read that the E-3 can carry AIM-9's for self defence purposes. Any truth to that?

Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
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RE: How Effective It Is For A Nimrod To Take AAMs?

Wed Jun 05, 2002 6:03 am

The British E-3 has two old hardpoints 1 under each wing, but Aim-9s would be almost useless. They would have to be rear firing and hard to get an IR signature- plus at the range they would have to be fired in the E-3 we would be dead.

Our AWACS and NATO do not have the hardpoints. Our self defence is to run and vector the fighters under our control to intercept.
We did practice some great combat descents at Maple Flag this last month and I had fun. Even the German F-4s protecting us got their hits. In the real world our defence is to get out.

Ciao and Hook 'em Horns,
Io voglio fica ogni giorni da mia bella moglie!
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RE: How Effective It Is For A Nimrod To Take AAMs?

Wed Jun 05, 2002 6:34 pm

I think the AIM-9s on the Nimrod are mainly for use against targets of opportunity, like helicopters launched from ships they are shadowing.
In the Falklands, the only aircraft the Argentinians had in the islands were some Pucara twin prop attack aircraft. Nimrods would have seen them coming and be able to launch a missile headon before running.
I wish I were flying
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RE: How Effective It Is For A Nimrod To Take AAMs?

Wed Jun 05, 2002 8:28 pm

I've heard that the RAF E-3's wing stations could be used for chaff/flare dispensers in a high threat zone.
During the Cold War new Soviet long-range SAM's coming into service in the 1980's may have been considered a possible threat.
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RE: How Effective It Is For A Nimrod To Take AAMs?

Wed Jun 05, 2002 10:25 pm

Were Nimrod pilots ever able to hear the familiar sidewinder growl in their headsets before firing though? Without this, how would the pilot know he had lock on? It wouldn't be displayed on a HUD and I doubt if his target would be kind enough to let him know.......
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RE: How Effective It Is For A Nimrod To Take AAMs?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 12:52 am

No reason why a Nirod pilot would not hear the seeker's growl.
Sidewinder was designed to be a simple fit, the first AAM not requiring stacks of equipment inside the aircraft.
Nimrod's operated far out to sea, watching for Agentinian ships and subs, and carrying out ESM, communications relay, and dropping supplies to RN ships.
A Pucara wouldn't get near, nor a chopper.
Pucara's were mostly destroyed on the ground, including a bunch in a classic old-style SAS raid over a week before the main British landings.
Some later attacked British troops, and were generally seen off with small arms fire and Blowpipe shoulder-fired SAM's.
A Pucara once attacked an SAS patrol, unfortunately for the aircraft they had a Stinger, and shot it down.
One was also thought to be hit by 30mm cannon fire from a Scimitar armoured vehicle.
I think at least two were shot down by Harriers.
Two Pucara's did shoot down an Army Scout light helicopter.
Many were left after the surrender, some were brought back as trophies, one was restored to flying condition in 1983/84 for a short evaluation by the Royal Aircraft Establishment.
One Argentine B707 on a recce mission looking for British ships, was attacked by Sea Dart SAM's from RN ships, luckily for the 707 crew they were just outside the missiles range. But it was the last time they tried that.
Later the Argentines used a very high-flying Learjet, fitted with survey equipment for recce, it was shot down by a Sea Dart.
If a Nimrod, while on patrol, had encountered any similar Argentine recce assets, they would have attacked.
Sure they probably wouldn't have stood a chance against a Mirage or Skyhawk, but they were well away from them.

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