WOODFORD, United Kingdom --- The Nimrod MRA4 has made significant steps forward with the UK Ministry of Defence formally accepting the aircraft and declaring it ‘ready to train’.
This declaration follows the type acceptance of the MRA4 which allows the delivery of production aircraft and the start of aircrew training, and the handover of the first production aircraft, designated PA04, following a demanding series of acceptance tests.
The formal acceptance was made by Group Captain Jerry Kessell, UK MoD’s Head of Underwater Capability, at BAE Systems’ Woodford site on March 10.
Group Captain George Martin, the UK MoD’s Nimrod MRA4 Operations Manager said: “Today sees the end of the acceptance process for MRA4, namely type, production and last, but by no means least, that of capability. The acceptance journey over the last two weeks marks a key milestone in the delivery of the first MRA4 for service use. It is a great privilege to have been involved over the past few years in seeing all aspects of the programme being drawn together and indeed today to see my customer accept the aircraft from me”.
Steve Timms, BAE Systems Managing Director for Large Aircraft said: “It’s tremendous to have achieved this milestone, which means that the UK’s Royal Air Force aircrew can begin training, can further develop the capability of the MRA4 and fully evaluate how best to use the impressive range of systems this aircraft offers”.
PA04 has now moved from Woodford to BAE Systems’ Warton site, where RAF aircrew will be trained under what is termed the Transition Programme. The first of those trained will become trainers themselves.
The MRA4 will transfer to the aircraft’s future main operating base at RAF Kinloss in late summer once an initial release to service and a support contract are in place.
A further milestone was achieved on March 8, with the first flight of the second production aircraft, PA05, which is now being painted in RAF livery before undergoing acceptance flights. The remaining seven production aircraft are all in build and will be delivered on schedule.
The MRA4 will fulfil a number of roles, anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, maritime reconnaissance, intelligence collection, search and rescue and attack.
Nimrod MRA4 offers unrivalled operational effectiveness, incorporating an advanced technical and mission capability and a fully integrated training system and logistics support package.
Equipped with more than 90 antennae and sensors and containing over six million lines of software code, the MRA4 is able to scan an area the size of the UK every 10 seconds. The aircraft is able to fly 6000 miles or 14 hours without refuelling.
BAE Systems is a global defense, security, and aerospace company with approximately 107,000 employees worldwide. The company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land, and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions, and customer support services. In 2009, BAE Systems reported sales of £22.4 billion (US $36.2 billion).