BAe Systems Nimrod MRA.4

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A BAe Systems Nimrod MRA.4 in flight at the 2006 Farnborough Air Show.

The BAe Systems Nimrod MRA4 is a maritime patrol and attack aircraft that has replaced the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod MR2. Originally planned as an extensive rebuild of the Nimrod MR2s, the program eventually evolved into replacing the MR2 with new build MRA4s on a one-to-one basis. The Nimrod MRA.4 has enlarged wings and the newer, more efficient Rolls-Royce BR700 turbofan jet engines that almost double the flight range. The aircraft also has a digital glass cockpit that have simplified control operations and reduced crew requirements. It also has new detection systems and additional weapons for anti-submarine warfare.

However the project was subject to significant delays due to cost over-runs and contract re-negotiations. This was partly due to difficulties combining refurbished Nimrod MR2 fuselages, which had not been built to a common standard, with newly built wings. The numbers of aircraft to be procured fell from 21 to nine over a course of years, while costs continued to climb.

The MRA4 was ultimately cancelled in 2010 as a result of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, at which point it was £789 million over-budget and over nine years late. On November 23rd, 2010, the UK announced its intention to order twenty-four P-8 Poseidon ASW aircraft, effectively replacing the Nimrod.

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