ABERPORTH, UK --- The Nimrod MRA4 has successfully released the Sting Ray torpedo for the first time. The safe separation trial to demonstrate the ability to deploy this store from the MRA4 bomb bay took place at Aberporth range off the coast of West Wales during the 75th flight of development aircraft PA02.
The release was the latest in an ongoing series of safe separation trials to prove the MRA4’s new stores release system. Radically redesigned from the Nimrod MR2, the system ensures that the weapons are programmed and released correctly. The release of sonobouys has already proved successful, with future testing programmed for further checks of the torpedoes and the release of light series stores and search and rescue equipment.
The MRA4 has the potential to carry an extensive range of weapons and equipment in the bomb bay including Sting Ray, a fully programmable lightweight anti-submarine torpedo that can detect and track a target using its own sonar.
Three MRA4 development aircraft have been built and are undergoing an intensive flight-test programme. PA02 achieved its first flight in December 2004 and is being used to test elements of the mission system and the air vehicle.
Joe Harland, managing director of BAE Systems’ Large Aircraft business said: ”the successful release of the torpedo is another significant milestone in the Nimrod MRA4 design and development programme. We are making steady progress on a complex and challenging flight test programme. The MRA4 represents a step-change in maritime reconnaissance capability and we are working closely with our customer to support the planned in-service date of 2010”.
BAE Systems is a global defence and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With 88,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £13.7 billion pounds sterling (US25.4 billion dollars) in 2006.