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STRANGE MILITARY AIRCRAFT - NIMROD! - HUGE BULBOUS NOSE! RAF PATROL AIRCRAFT

On 4 June 1964, the British Government issued Air Staff Requirement 381 to replace the Avro Shackleton. The requirement attracted a great deal of interest from both British and foreign aircraft Manufacturers, including the Lockheed P-3 Orion, the Breguet Atlantic and derivatives of the Hawker Siddeley Trident, BAC One-Eleven and de Havilland Comet. On 2 February 1965, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson announced the intention to order Hawker Siddeley's maritime patrol version of the Comet, the HS.801.

The Nimrod design was based on that of the Comet 4 civil airliner which had reached the end of its commercial life (the first two prototype Nimrods, XV148 & XV147 were built from two final unfinished Comet 4C airframes). The Comet's turbojet engines were replaced by Rolls-Royce Spey turbofans for better fuel efficiency, particularly at the low altitudes required for maritime patrol. Major fuselage changes were made, including an internal weapons bay, an extended nose for radar, a new tail with electronic warfare (ESM) sensors mounted in a bulky fairing, and a MAD (Magnetic anomaly detector) boom. After the first flight in May 1967, the RAF ordered a total of 46 Nimrod MR1s. The first example (XV230) entered service in October 1969. A total of five squadrons using the type were stood up, four were permanently based in the UK and a fifth was initially based in Malta.

Nimrod R1 XV249 at RAF Waddington, June 2011
Three Nimrod aircraft were adapted for the signals intelligence role, replacing the Comet C2s and Canberras of No. 51 Squadron in May 1974. The R1 was visually distinguished from the MR2 by the lack of a MAD boom.[12] It was fitted with an array of rotating dish aerials in the aircraft's bomb-bay, with further dish aerials in the tail cone and at the front of the wing-mounted fuel tanks. It had a flight crew of four (two pilots, a flight engineer and one navigator) and up to 25 crew operating the SIGINT equipment.

Only since the end of the Cold War has the role of the aircraft been officially acknowledged; they were once described as "radar calibration aircraft". The R1s have not suffered the same rate of fatigue and corrosion as the MR2s. One R1 was lost in a flying accident since the type's introduction; this occurred in May 1995 during a flight test after major servicing, at RAF Kinloss. To replace this aircraft an MR2 was selected for conversion to R1 standard, and entered service in December 1996.

The Nimrod R1 was based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, England, and flown by 51 Sqn. The two remaining Nimrod R1s were originally planned to be retired at the end of March 2011, but operational requirements forced the RAF to deploy one to RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus on 16 March in support of Operation Ellamy. The last flight of the type was on 28 June 2011 from RAF Waddington, in the presence of the Chief of the Air Staff, ACM Sir Stephen Dalton. Aircraft XW664 was transferred to East Midlands Aeropark on 12 July 2011 and will go on public display once classified systems have been removed
 

STRANGE MILITARY AIRCRAFT - NIMROD! - HUGE BULBOUS NOSE! RAF PATROL AIRCRAFT






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