Saturday, 24 May 2008

Nimrod XV230

Some background links on the Nimrod:

Nimrod XV230

Nimrod history here and here.

So it would appear that the Nimrod was a low-cost quick-fix modification of an obsolescent airframe with extensive modifications necessary to fit larger engines and undercarriage into the wing-fuselage junction area. The design was signed off at an acceptance conference in 1968. I don't blame anyone at that conference for not guessing that the aircraft would fly for over 35 years( its predecessor the Shackleton stayed in maritime reconnaissance service for only 21 years) and would receive an in-flight refuelling probe and pipework during the Falklands conflict.
The Nimrod MR2 has been battling on well past its planned retirement date in the expectation that the MR4 (old MR2 fuselages on new wings and tails) will replace it in 2012 or so.
Nimrod XV230 was flying in Afghanistan because it had been fitted with an L3 MX-15 camera . This very useful piece of equipment is small enough to be fitted to a light aircraft or medium helicopter. Why wasn't that done instead?
Per Ardua Ad Astra was all very well in the Second World War when aircrew bravely fought in often second-rate, dangerous aircraft knowing that the war had to be waged with whatever was available. But this is now. The Nimrod fleet should be grounded until repairs are carried out to rectify its faults or retired if the cost is disproportionate. The capability gap could be filled with wet-leased Atlantiques or Orions until the Boeing P-8A is available, ideally combined with Global Hawk UAVs. The Nimrod MRA4 should go the way of the AEW3.

1 comment:

William Gruff said...

We could always do what was done in the Second World War and go cap in hand to the Yanks. We can't possibly be forced to give away as much as was given away then because they got most of what the country had and most of what was left has been thrown away since. We've no pride any more and nothing left to lose, except the lives of our servicemen and women.

Please America, can we have some more?