Saturday, September 18, 2010
RAF Accepts First Nimrod MRA4
Britain’s newest guardian of the skies took to the air this month in a salute to those who served in the Battle of Britain, including a poignant visit to the RAF base which for years was its predecessor’s natural home.
RAF Nimrod MRA4 PA04, the first production aircraft to be accepted by the RAF, captained by BAE Systems Nimrod MRA4 Chief Test Pilot Bill Ovel, took off from the company’s Lancashire test airfield at Warton, Lancashire, on September 9th before flying the length of the UK visiting airshows – as well as performing a flight trial at a key test range - all in a single mission.
The 1,600 mile flight took in Guernsey’s Battle of Britain Air Display, Jersey’s International Air Show, and flight trials at the Aberporth Bay test range in Mid-Wales, before conducting a flypast at RAF Kinloss which, for 40 years, has been the base for the UK’s fleet of Nimrod maritime reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft.
The new MRA4 can use its radar to scan an area the size of the UK in 10 seconds, detect submerged submarines and conduct long range Search and Rescue missions.
Bill Ovel said of the flight: “The operational capabilities of the MRA4 are incredibly impressive and even though I’ve been test flying the aircraft for several years, I still get a terrific buzz from the experience. On this flight the aircraft once again performed impeccably. Presenting her to the personnel of RAF Kinloss during the flypast was hugely satisfying for the crew and I know that it was a rousing experience for those watching from the ground.”
He added: “Given that this month marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain – a battle where radar played a crucial role in securing victory– it was a great privilege for us to be able to salute the memory of those who gave their lives for others and those who defended our shores with such tenacity and bravery.”
BAE Systems is a global defence, 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).