After a protracted development program, the UK MoD has declared the BAE Systems Nimrod MRA4 maritime surveillance aircraft ‘ready to train’ on after the first of nine production aircraft, airframe PA04, was accepted by the RAF.
“Today sees the end of the acceptance process for MRA4, namely type, production and last, but by no means least, that of capability,” Group Captain Jerry Kessell, the UK MoD’s Head of Underwater Capability, said on March 10. “The acceptance journey… 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 program being drawn together and indeed today to see my customer accept the aircraft from me.”
The MRA4 is a rebuild of former RAF Nimrod MR2 airframes, with new wings, fin and engines, and completely new avionics, mission and combat systems. The program has been plagued by development delays, a more than halving of the original order of 21, and cost overruns.
The RAF retired the last of its MR2s in February, and is not expected to declare the MRA4 operational for another two years.