A bit more info on the flight
NIMROD TAKES TO
Earlier today the new Nimrod MRA4, a highly capable Maritime Reconnaissance and Attack aircraft, took off on its historic inaugural flight from BAE Systems' Woodford site, near Manchester, cheered on by many of the site's 600 employees engaged in the programme.
The aircraft, dubbed PA01, is the first of three design and development Nimrod MRA4's. Following a successful take-off from Woodford it flew into the company's Warton site, in Lancashire, again witnessed by crowds of personnel based at the site, to begin an extensive flight trials programme. Warton has been much involved in the development of the MRA4, with around half the 1,250 strong Nimrod team based there, together with more than 70 RAF and Defence Procurement Agency (DPA
) personnel seconded to the programme. Other BAE Systems sites with a previous or current involvement in the programme include Brough in Yorkshire, Chadderton in Greater Manchester, Prestwick in Scotland and Farnborough in Hampshire.
For Joe Harland, Nimrod MRA4 Managing Director, first flight of the aircraft represents a major milestone in his long career in aviation. On witnessing the aircraft's landing at Warton he said, "This is an amazingly complex and challenging programme. The fact that we have successfully flown the aircraft for the first time speaks volumes for the experience, specialist skills and sheer hard work of our employees, as well as for the close working relationship we have established with our customer, the Defence Procurement Agency. We should also not forget that this is another aviation 'first' for the North West."
John Turner, Nimrod MRA4's Chief Test Pilot, who was in command of the aircraft said, "I feel privileged to have piloted the aircraft on its historic first flight - the Nimrod MRA4 is a real pleasure to fly, and behaved well. I now look forward to conducting the rest of the flight trials programme with the Nimrod team."
For his part the Director for Nimrod Development, Steve Fogg, praised the aircraft's capability. "The MRA4 represents a technological step change from the MR2 it is set to replace in 2009, able, for example, to gather, process and display up to 20 times more data than the current in-service aircraft "
Steve added, "The MRA4 has a typical crew of 10, and a range of around 6,000 miles, sufficient to fly from the UK to Los Angeles or Buenos Aires, for example, without refuelling. Equally important, unrefuelled it can remain on station for twice as long as an MR2 during a search and rescue mission."
The new MRA4 is powered by four Rolls Royce/BMW BR710 engines. These have already been tried and proven on Gulfstream and Bombardier business jets, and make the new MRA4 more powerful (with a high-level top speed of just over 600 miles per hour) and quieter than the MR2.
The other two MRA4 design and development aircraft, PA02 and PA03, are expected to fly in late 2004 and summer 2005 respectively, with flight trials expected to continue at Warton until 2006/ 2007.
The Ministry of Defence has indicated a requirement for a fleet of around 12 Nimrod MRA4, although this is dependent on the outcome of the trials programme and agreement on an acceptable price for production aircraft. No decision has yet been taken on when or where production will take place.
For further information, please contact Felicity Wingrove, Senior Communications Advisor, Air Systems, 01772 856311, or email [email protected]
* Nimrod MRA4 Background information
* Nimrod MRA4 key features
* About BAE Systems in the North West
* About BAE Systems
Nimrod MRA4 Background information:
Under a contract awarded in December 1996, and amended in 2002, BAE Systems was contracted to build an 18-strong fleet of Nimrod MRA4 aircraft, the Royal Air Force's new Maritime, Reconnaissance and Attack aircraft. The contract was subject to further renegotiation in 2003, separating out the design and development phase (3 aircraft) from an option for production (15 aircraft). More recently, on 21 July 2004, the Secretary of State for Defence talked about the nation's maritime reconnaissance requirement being met in future by a fleet of 'around 12' Nimrod MRA4 aircraft..
A worthy successor to the highly successful Nimrod MR2, the aircraft is equipped with the latest in sensors and mission systems for the 'three-in-one' maritime patrol mission. This includes ASW, Anti-Surface Unit Warfare (ASUW) and Search And Rescue (SAR).
Nimrod MRA4 will offer unrivalled operational effectiveness, incorporating a state-of- the-art technical and mission capability and a fully integrated training system and logistic support package.
Nimrod MRA4 key features:
* The Rolls Royce/BMW BR710 Engine
* BR710, a modern high bypass ratio turbofan chosen by BAE Systems for low noise, high reliability and efficiency
* At take-off MRA4 is around 4 times quieter than the existing Nimrod MR2
* Engine design and installation combine to give the aircraft an equivalent noise profile to regional jets
* Over 600 engines in civil operation have already accumulated in excess of 800,000 hours
* Multi-Mode Pulse Doppler Radar - a large antenna for greater range and improved target resolution
* Electronic Support Measures - new equipment to detect, localise and classify electronic transmissions
* Defensive Aids Sub-System - fitted with a dedicated radar warning receiver
* Acoustics System - this key sensor system in submarine detection will use advanced sonobuoys and dedicated processors to detect and rapidly locate the quietest and deepest running submarines in service
* Electro-Optical Surveillance and Detection System - turret-mounted under the nose, this system provides high-resolution imagery to assist in search, identification and intelligence gathering
* Magnetic Anomaly Detector - mounted in the tail 'sting' this detects localised changes in the Earth's magnetic field confirming the presence of large metallic objects, such as submarines, under the sea's surface
* Communications Management System - Nimrod MRA4 will be able to communicate on all voice bands from low frequency to UHF
. The aircraft will also have datalink and satellite communication capability for world-wide secure communication.