The RAF is to get 12 Nimrod MRA4 aircraft under a £1.1bn contract announced today by Defence Secretary, Des Browne.
The Nimrod MRA4 is a highly advanced aircraft fitted with the latest navigation and reconnaissance systems. It will be used for search and rescue operations and long range anti-surface and submarine hunting missions. It has a range of over 6,000 miles and patrol endurance of 15 hours. Operational environments have changed since the existing MR2 aircraft were designed and the MRA4 offers more flexibility for the RAF for a variety of different roles.
Des Browne said "I am very pleased to announce this contract for 12 aircraft, which will help secure over 1,000 high-tech UK jobs. These aircraft are fitted with highly advanced technology and will give our Armed Forces an exceptional patrol aircraft and far greater flexibility. The Nimrod MRA4's will be able to operate a wider surveillance role over land and sea as well as continuing to fulfil the vital search and rescue role that the aircraft is already so well known for."
The revised contracting arrangements offer greater transparency, and an essential part in turning the project around was the development of an effective partnering relationship between MoD, BAE Systems and its supply chain. These are key elements of the recently published Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS). Delivery of the first production aircraft to RAF Kinloss is planned for 2009.
--Multi-Mode Pulse Doppler Radar - a large antenna for greater range and improved target resolution.
--Acoustics System - this key sensor in submarine detection will use advanced sonobuoys and dedicated processors to rapidly detect and 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. (ends)
"Exceptional" New Maritime Patrol Aircraft Announced for RAF