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Nimrod MRA4 aircraft gears up for training by RAF

Woodford, UK (BNS): The Nimrod MRA4 maritime reconnaissance and attack aircraft is all set to join the Royal Air Force (RAF) after the UK Ministry of Defence formally accepted the aircraft and declared it “ready to train.”

The formal acceptance of the aircraft took place on March 10.

The first production aircraft of the series, designated PA04, will now be handed over to the RAF for aircrew training, its manufacturer BAE Systems announced.

The PA04 has undergone extensive flight trials. The aircraft has now moved from Woodford to BAE Systems’ Warton site, where RAF aircrew will be trained under the ‘Transition Programme’.

Meanwhile, the second production aircraft, PA05, made its maiden flight last week. The aircraft will undergo acceptance trials before being handed over to the RAF.

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.

BAE Systems will provide the RAF 12 Nimrod MRA4 aircraft under a July, 2006 contract awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence. This includes completion of three development aircraft and conversion of nine more to production standard.

The remaining seven production aircraft are all in build and will be delivered on schedule, the company said.

The Nimrod MRA4 is a multi-role fighter aircraft that can be engaged in anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare missions, maritime reconnaissance, intelligence collection, search and rescue and attack operations.

An upgraded variant of the Nimrod MR2 aircraft, the MRA4 is fitted with new-generation Rolls-Royce BR710 turbofan engines, a new larger wing, and fully refurbished fuselage. The aircraft can carry 10 crew members and fly at a speed of Mach 0.77 for 14 hours (for nearly 10,000 kilometers) without refuelling. It can be equipped with air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, bombs and torpedoes.

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