Nimrod MRA4


Originally designed for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface Warfare (AsuW) and Search & Rescue (S&R), the Nimrod MRA4 will be equipped to operate in an NEC environment as a component of an overall ISTAR force. With changing emphasis within homeland defence and overseas commitments, the MRA4 will make a significant contribution to the overall fight against terrorism.


  • Engines: Four RR BR710 Turbofans
  • Thrust: 14,750lbs
  • Max speed: 360kts
  • Length: 38.6m
  • Max altitude: 40,000ft
  • Span: 38.7m
  • Aircrew: 10
  • Armament: Stingray

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The Nimrod MRA4 is due to enter service with the RAF at the turn of the decade, when it will replace the present Nimrod MR2 at RAF Kinloss. Although the MRA4 looks similar to the MR2, only the basic fuselage shell and the empennage is shared. The Nimrod MRA4 will have completely new systems and a new, larger wing carrying advanced Rolls-Royce Deutschland (RRD) BR710 turbofan engines. These are 30% more fuel-efficient and 25% more powerful than the Rolls-Royce Spey 250 engines they replace. The aircraft's maximum weight has increased from around 87 tonnes to approximately 104 tonnes and can operate for longer periods than its predecessor with a bigger payload in terms of both weapons, sensors, and fuel.

The Nimrod MRA4 will have a multi-tasking role, whose primary tasks include ASW, AsuW and S&R together with an ISTAR capability. Further exploiting its integrated mission systems, it will be used, inter alia, in constabulary roles around the UK waters including counter drug operations in addition to contributing to the fight against terrorism.

The MRA4 operating crew will consist of two pilots and eight mission crew members operating new state-of-the-art radar, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), electro-optic, acoustic and Magnetic Anomoly Detection (MAD) sensor systems. The new flight deck is an all-glass cockpit, which incorporates many of the systems, displays and integrated avionics developed for the Airbus series of civil airliners.

The heart of the mission system is the entirely new Tactical Command System, which is based around the seven reconfigurable, high-resolution, multi-function colour display workstations used by the mission crew, plus the pilots' tactical display. The primary sensor will be the Thales Searchwater 2000MR multi-mode search radar. This is a new, extremely high-performance radar designed for all-weather operation and optimised to have a high probability of tracking small targets in poor weather. A new defensive-aids system will include a radar warning receiver, a missile approach receiver and integral chaff/flare dispensers.

The MRA4 has the potential to carry an extensive range of weapons and equipment in the bomb bay. Weapons management will be conducted via a stores management system, which carries out inventory tracking control, air-to-air and air-to-sea weapon control, and built-in test and fault diagnostic systems.

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Strategy 2006

If you would like to see the full Royal Air Force Strategy for 2006 please download the following pdf document

Strategy 2006