• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

BAE SYSTEMS Nimrod MRA.4

Mike Pryce

BAe P.1216 book: harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,056
Reaction score
135
Looking at the structure of Nimrod, if any area was going to have 4 inches of wriggle room it is the 'spectacles'. Jig built wings, fuselages and centre wing boxes, all connected by these, that hardly seem to be monocoque structures amenable to jig assembly.

With root bending in low level turns, thrust loads, endless maintenance over decades, it is hard to imagine they were not supposed to 'give' in some way and at some time. As I understand it, this was also the area that caused various problems on the MRA4. Were the new, bigger 'spectacles' designed to be too stiff or something similar? Maybe that is the source of the 4 inch myth - maybe they did not 'give' like the old ones? Too stiff and stress would develop.
Utter nonsense. As is the fire dump measurements fairytale as is the fuselage to wing attachment were drilled to chalk marks.

Just repeating over and over again won’t make it real
What is nonsense? Asking? Were they stiff, or flexible? Did it matter?
 

Zoo Tycoon

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
372
Reaction score
382
Looking at the structure of Nimrod, if any area was going to have 4 inches of wriggle room it is the 'spectacles'. Jig built wings, fuselages and centre wing boxes, all connected by these, that hardly seem to be monocoque structures amenable to jig assembly.

With root bending in low level turns, thrust loads, endless maintenance over decades, it is hard to imagine they were not supposed to 'give' in some way and at some time. As I understand it, this was also the area that caused various problems on the MRA4. Were the new, bigger 'spectacles' designed to be too stiff or something similar? Maybe that is the source of the 4 inch myth - maybe they did not 'give' like the old ones? Too stiff and stress would develop.
Utter nonsense. As is the fire dump measurements fairytale as is the fuselage to wing attachment were drilled to chalk marks.

Just repeating over and over again won’t make it real
What is nonsense? Asking? Were they stiff, or flexible? Did it matter?
The spectacle frames were, like the whole wing structure, design to safe life criteria which means they’re very stiff. We did have concerns with engine attachment to landing gear moment coupling but again this is run of the mill problem solving in this type of project.

Excuse my tone but I’m very jaded by all the narratives that try to make out the team was stupid;- by wing critical design review closure (the point when key dimensional data is released for manufacture) in June 99, there were five fuselages striped and comprehensively measured, the remaining 14 candidate airframes had all key interface dimensions measured, the guys involved had actually stood on the original MOD contract Nimrod Tooling (prior to it being gas axed) so why would anyone say “no we’re going to ignore all that and use a Comet Avon powered prototype as our dimensional reference”?

What’s the agenda continuing to mention this grossly inaccurate nonsense.
 
Last edited:

Mike Pryce

BAe P.1216 book: harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,056
Reaction score
135
The agenda is trying to work out why this issue of innacuracy, in every sense, is repeated. Lots of other forums, PPRUNE etc., have people saying the planes were all shapes and sizes and 'I worked on/flew them' etc. It goes back decades. Folk say the AEW version had bespoke intakes/radomes etc. Why has it taken until now to rebut these stories if untrue? The fact that I, and others, have had people who worked on the project tell them these things as well is certainly remarkable if they are not true.

If, as you say, it stems from BAE's own 'fake news', apparently released to dupe shareholders and get a new contract from MoD, then the technical failings are almost something one would wish to be true. That is an utterly extraordinary and extremely significant claim.

Ultimately, this project was a huge failure. Why? There seem to be reasons aplenty. If some are not true then why did the truth not come out at the time?
 

Mike Pryce

BAe P.1216 book: harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,056
Reaction score
135
An interesting, if annoyingly edited, video that states (1:10) that in 1993 XV147 (the so called fire dump Comet/Nimrod that the myth says was the one that got digitised) was purchased to trial the wing/fuselage re-design, and shows the two components being taken apart 'for the first time on a Nimrod':

Did this have to be repeated for all of them to know if they all measured the same?
 

Zoo Tycoon

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
372
Reaction score
382
Ultimately, this project was a huge failure. Why?

1- BAESYSTEMS preferred solution was lost with the do not proceed decision on A400m, but only after MOD has agreed to launch a Nimrod replacement program. The Nimrod re-engine proposal is hastily conceived and grows rapidly without an appropriate depth of pre study.
2 -The RAF/BAE couldn’t see beyond wanting a Nimrod to replace a Nimrod, they concluded that the air vehicle fundamentally had to be 100tons max take off weight and four engines.... that’s pretty bespoke and HMG wouldn’t approve an entirely new design.
2- (not so) Smart Procurement (introduced by political decree;- a ruthless race to the bottom)- this delivered a commercially non feasible contract. It contains excessively optimistic assumptions, known to both parties.
3- the first of these optimistic assumptions to go bad was the required engineering ramp up, it would never have worked, so via Force Majeure , a one year slip was agrees in the exchange for reducing the number of airframes delivered from 21 to 18. The actual engineering ramp up, particularly at Farnborough took two years. (CDR closure scheduled for September 98 slips to Dec 2000, but in real terms was even a bit later than that)
4- A poor decision in wing structure optimisation adds a further 6 months
5 - the production lull prior to Typhoon ramp up, vital to securing parts delivery to Woodford was missed.At the same time it was realised many parts expected to be retained would require new fabrication thus further overload the production organisation.
6 - The build of the first 3 prototypes now experiences part shortages which turn an 18 month planned build into 48 months
7- the original fixed price contract was maxed out in 2002 having delivered nothing but it’s now politically too big to fall. It’s replaced by a more traditional contract but now only nine aircraft, well below a viable fleet size.
8 - when PA1 flys (Aug 2004) it’s ailerons control forces are unacceptable, as is its yaw stability. These issues take 3 years to resolve and much of the flight testing can only be completed with the final control system design standard. A flight test program originally scheduled at 24 months, takes nearly 60 months. The aileron issue was due to the insistence on old technology but newly designed cable operated control system installed inside a new wing structure. Poor decision making (Both BAE and MOD) on the technology choices forced a lengthy re-learning of old design methods. FBW ailerons might have had greater upfront cost but could have saved 36months and the massive cost incurred by this delay.
9 - Due to delays on MR4 the MR2 has now been pushed too hard, too much, ref Hadden Cave.
10 - it’s discovered that part of MRA4 safety case for Air to Air refuelling is based on the flawed case of MR2 which would lead to yet more delays.
11 - a cash strapped government finally pulls the plug
 
Last edited:

Zoo Tycoon

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
372
Reaction score
382
An interesting, if annoyingly edited, video that states (1:10) that in 1993 XV147 (the so called fire dump Comet/Nimrod that the myth says was the one that got digitised) was purchased to trial the wing/fuselage re-design, and shows the two components being taken apart 'for the first time on a Nimrod':

Did this have to be repeated for all of them to know if they all measured the same?
There’s Not a single mention of measurements or even to trial redesign beyond a check the old wing separates from the fuselage. It a fairytale your creating there, why

You can’t even get the date right, 1995 not 1993
 

Mike Pryce

BAe P.1216 book: harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,056
Reaction score
135
An interesting, if annoyingly edited, video that states (1:10) that in 1993 XV147 (the so called fire dump Comet/Nimrod that the myth says was the one that got digitised) was purchased to trial the wing/fuselage re-design, and shows the two components being taken apart 'for the first time on a Nimrod':

Did this have to be repeated for all of them to know if they all measured the same?
There’s Not a single mention of measurements or even to trial redesign beyond a check the old wing separates from the fuselage. It a fairytale your creating there, why

You can’t even get the date right, 1995 not 1993
It says clearly in the audio that it was purchased in 1993.
 

Mike Pryce

BAe P.1216 book: harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,056
Reaction score
135
Ultimately, this project was a huge failure. Why?

1- BAe preferred solution was lost with the do not proceed decision on A400m but only after MOD has agreed to launch a program. The Nimrod re-engine proposal is hastily conceived and grows without the required level pre study.
2 -The RAF/BAE couldn’t see beyond wanting a Nimrod to replace a Nimrod, they concluded that the air vehicle fundamentally had to be 100tons max take off weight and four engines.... that’s pretty bespoke and HMG wouldn’t approve an entirely new design.
2- (not so) Smart Procurement (introduced by political decree)- this delivered a commercially non feasible contract. It contains excessively optimistic assumptions.
3- the first of these optimistic assumptions to go bad was the required engineering ramp up, it would never have worked, so via Force Majeure , a one year slip was agrees in the exchange for reducing the number of airframes delivered from 21 to 18. The actual engineering ramp up, particularly at Farnborough took two years. (CDR closure scheduled for September 98 slips to Dec 2000, but in real terms was even a bit later than that)
4- A poor decision in wing structure optimisation adds a further 6 months
5 - the production lull prior to Typhoon ramp up, vital to securing parts delivery to Woodford was missed.
6 - The build now experiences difficultly in part supply an 18 month projected build turns to 48 months
7- the original fixed price contract was maxed out in 2002 having delivered nothing but it’s now politically too big to fall. It’s replaced by a more traditional contract but now only nine aircraft, well below a viable fleet size.
8 - when PA1 flys (Aug 2004) it’s ailerons control forces are unacceptable, as is its yaw stability. These issues take 3 years to resolve and much of the flight testing can only be completed with the final control system design standard. A flight test program originally scheduled at 24 months, takes nearly 60 months. The aileron issue was new control system parts fitted inside a new wing structure. Poor decision making (Both BAE and MOD) on the technology choices forced a lengthy re-learning of old design methods.
8 - Due to delays on MR4 the MR2 has now been pushed too hard, too much, ref Hadden Cave.
9 - it’s discovered that part of MRA4 safety case for Air to Air refuelling is based on the flawed case of MR2 which would lead to yet more delays.
10 - a cash strapped government finally pulls the plug
So mostly programme management apart from 8 (the first 8, there are two of them) and 9?
 

Zoo Tycoon

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
372
Reaction score
382
An interesting, if annoyingly edited, video that states (1:10) that in 1993 XV147 (the so called fire dump Comet/Nimrod that the myth says was the one that got digitised) was purchased to trial the wing/fuselage re-design, and shows the two components being taken apart 'for the first time on a Nimrod':

Did this have to be repeated for all of them to know if they all measured the same?
There’s Not a single mention of measurements or even to trial redesign beyond a check the old wing separates from the fuselage. It a fairytale your creating there, why

You can’t even get the date right, 1995 not 1993
It says clearly in the audio that it was purchased in 1993.
An the caption clearly shows the separation occurs in 1995, not 93 as per the words written in your fairytale.

This trial is a new one on me, I suspect that it was purchased to conduct fit checks of the new mission system in the original recondition MR2 proposal prior to 95 (before the proposal to re-engine and enlarge). That’s what it was used for in the MRA4 programme. I would suggest the separation exercise in 95 was primarily to investigate corrosion between joints in particular the cathedral fitting, which is the group of four bolts you see in the shot. Corrosion in this location would be a show stopper.
 
Last edited:

Mike Pryce

BAe P.1216 book: harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,056
Reaction score
135
An interesting, if annoyingly edited, video that states (1:10) that in 1993 XV147 (the so called fire dump Comet/Nimrod that the myth says was the one that got digitised) was purchased to trial the wing/fuselage re-design, and shows the two components being taken apart 'for the first time on a Nimrod':

Did this have to be repeated for all of them to know if they all measured the same?
There’s Not a single mention of measurements or even to trial redesign beyond a check the old wing separates from the fuselage. It a fairytale your creating there, why

You can’t even get the date right, 1995 not 1993
It says clearly in the audio that it was purchased in 1993.
An the caption clearly shows the separation occurs in 1995, not 93 as per the words written in your fairytale.
What fairytale? It has been said by others that XV147 was off a fire dump. It was. It has been said by others that it was digitised. I do not say that, although as it was at Warton and got pulled apart that seems more plausible than if if it was left on the dump. But my post was to ask a question while sharing some footage that was relevant. The question remains unanswered. To measure a Nimrod after years of service do you need to pull the wings off? If so, does it matter if it was built in a jig if it is now all bent out of shape? That would help address the key part of the myth around this. Maybe the myth is not true, but it is what many believe to be true.

Also, the press release issue. Seriously? Leaving that hanging is a real problem for me regarding the credibility of your defence of Nimrod as, essentially, having few technical issues. Do you have a copy of it? Why would BAE sow the fairytale/myth if untrue?

Making accusations and allusions while avoiding answers does not counter such myths.
 

Zoo Tycoon

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
372
Reaction score
382
The fairytale that you implied was validated by the video was that the key ref interface dimensions came from a fire dump Comet, which contribute to wings that didn’t assembly, proven by the look on peoples faces in Woodford photo’s, caused ten years of delay that ultimately killed the programme. The video offers no such validation.

Contrast that to my post 126.
 
Last edited:

Mike Pryce

BAe P.1216 book: harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,056
Reaction score
135
The fairytale that you implied was validated by the video was that the key ref interface dimensions came from a fire dump Comet, which contribute to wings that didn’t assembly, proven by the look on peoples faces in Woodford photo’s, caused ten years of delay that ultimately killed the programme. The video offers no such validation.

Contrast that to my post 127.
XV147 is referred to as a 'form and fit' demonstrator and data from it was used: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/something-old-something-new-something-borrowed-17019/

I have not said that the myth is true, just that it is hard to refute. What was the XV147 data used for?

Oh, a question. Sorry. I will stop....
 

dan_inbox

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2006
Messages
748
Reaction score
263
When an argument turns into a two-person tug-o-war like this, without visible interest from the onlookers, it's a good idea for the obstinate hardheads to take it to PM.
Think that anyone cares to witness which one can be more stubborn? I for one don't.
We'd rather witness which one can show more smarts by moving on.
 

Mike Pryce

BAe P.1216 book: harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,056
Reaction score
135
When an argument turns into a two-person tug-o-war like this, without visible interest from the onlookers, it's a good idea for the obstinate hardheads to take it to PM.
Think that anyone cares to witness which one can be more stubborn? I for one don't.
We'd rather witness which one can show more smarts by moving on.
I agree. I did just stop, see above. And again, now.
 

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,967
Reaction score
661
At the time of decision it seemed a mad scheme to fit new wings to old fusilages and simpler to just build all new even if it was Nimrods.
The logical options were A 400 or the MRTT as the basis for new MRA.

Though at time, there was still 146/RJX manufacturing line open.
 

Zoo Tycoon

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
372
Reaction score
382
The fairytale that you implied was validated by the video was that the key ref interface dimensions came from a fire dump Comet, which contribute to wings that didn’t assembly, proven by the look on peoples faces in Woodford photo’s, caused ten years of delay that ultimately killed the programme. The video offers no such validation.

Contrast that to my post 127.
XV147 is referred to as a 'form and fit' demonstrator and data from it was used: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/something-old-something-new-something-borrowed-17019/

I have not said that the myth is true, just that it is hard to refute. What was the XV147 data used for?

Oh, a question. Sorry. I will stop....
It was used as form and fit demonstrator I.e it was used for mission system fitting, again it’s your incorrect projection that it produced dimensional data to support wing assembly.

I’ve also had enough of this nonsense, and you really wonder why no one has challenged the current narrative
 

starviking

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2006
Messages
1,054
Reaction score
141
Echoing Dan, perhaps we should step back from the topic - extremely fascinating as it has been - and revisit in a few weeks. Things are just too heated right now.
 

Mike Pryce

BAe P.1216 book: harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,056
Reaction score
135
Echoing Dan, perhaps we should step back from the topic - extremely fascinating as it has been - and revisit in a few weeks. Things are just too heated right now.
Just to be clear, I am not heated. I think a tone can be read into posts that is not there. I am not a Nimrod specialist, have studied it only for a slide pack, spoken to a few people in passing, but it is a confusing/fascinating story. I was very excited to try and learn more as my day job is trying to work out what makes for good and bad defence procurement.

I am happy to park it for a while and dig a bit more where possible. I have some resources at work that my turn up something useful. If I can post anything I will, but will refrain from comment beyond 'I found this'.
 

Hood

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
1,851
Reaction score
1,126
My interpretation of the video is that XV147 is the same as Zootycoon, that XV147 was originally purchased in 1993 as the form and fit demonstrator for the original interior changes and avionics fitting and that in 1995 the opportunity was taken to see if the wing centre section could be removed. Since a removal had never been attempted BAE were probably worried if the centre-section couldn't be removed then it would have scuppered or vastly complicated the re-engining proposal.
The real in-depth structural investigation would have taken place on the two (unidentified) Nimrods that the 1996 Flight article reference as being taken apart to assess the structure and its remaining life.

I too would like to see the BAE 2002 press release though, if a copy exists, hard to validate or interpret a document we have not seen. Clearly the 2002 financial report Harrier linked is more circumspect with vague mentions of unforseen problems.

I share Harrier's curiosity where the fuselage myths come from and he references earlier comments about the AEW.3 conversions. I can't help thinking that this leads us much further back in time and poses several other questions;
1) Was the Comet afflicted with similar fuselage difference issues?
2) Only the Nimrod prototypes are stated to have used surplus Comet 4C fuselages. Does this implies that the Chester production line for Nimrod was not building a complete stock Comet 4 fuselage barrel to deliver to Woodford? It would seem logical that they would keep churning out Comet 4 fuselages, therefore why should the main pressurised section fundamentally differ from the Comet? Differences in the unpressurised bespoke lower fuselage section I could imagine may have occurred.
3) Bespoke intakes built by hand might be plausible given the changes required to fit Spey, but with a production run of 49 why was there no standardised mass-produced intake part? Or indeed any other parts? Let's not forget that only 115 Comet airframes were ever built (not all completed) and only 74 of those were Comet 4 series, effectively the 49 production Nimrods extended the Comet 4 line by more than a third so there was no excuse to revert to bespoke hand-built items.
 

Mike Pryce

BAe P.1216 book: harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,056
Reaction score
135
From the library. Undated, but pre-bid (1996).
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20190717_120130.jpg
    IMG_20190717_120130.jpg
    3.7 MB · Views: 77
  • IMG_20190717_120005~2.jpg
    IMG_20190717_120005~2.jpg
    2.1 MB · Views: 83
  • IMG_20190717_120011~2.jpg
    IMG_20190717_120011~2.jpg
    2.2 MB · Views: 92

starviking

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2006
Messages
1,054
Reaction score
141
Echoing Dan, perhaps we should step back from the topic - extremely fascinating as it has been - and revisit in a few weeks. Things are just too heated right now.
Just to be clear, I am not heated. I think a tone can be read into posts that is not there.

I totally agree. On the net tone is hard to gauge, and very relative. That very relativity, though, can lead to “critical masses” suddenly occurring.
 

Mike Pryce

BAe P.1216 book: harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,056
Reaction score
135
Found the wing join up CD. It is for PA4. Several hundred photos, plus some of old wings coming off. Note from Avro Heritage on the CD: "We could not find the negatives or disks for the aug 2000 wing join up & wing transportation so I enclose a complete set of photographs of PA4 wing join up and a scan of the wing transport taken from direct from the contact sheet."

The person looking at the camera (not up a ladder but on a scaffold) has never been claimed by me to prove anything, in fact quite the opposite. I was told, however, that this was the moment something happened, and not to show the face as that person cannot give permission. I never wanted to in any case. Just wanted new/old structure shots for slides.

What I can repeat (as above) is that the pictures seem to show all things bolted together than need to be. No 'smoking gun' that I can see. PA4 certainly had lots of wing join up photos taken, and lots of laser tracking done during it.

CD also has a 100 page presentation of the original Nimrod to the RAAF, with in service maintainability data etc. which was my main search at Avro. Found that if nothing else!
 

Pirate Pete

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Jul 25, 2007
Messages
139
Reaction score
85
Harrier.

Whilst I appreciate that it is probably does not relate to this specific thread (Nimrod MRA.4), could you share some of the details of the RAAF presentation regarding the original Nimrod?
I for one would like to see more details about this.
Thanks
 

Mike Pryce

BAe P.1216 book: harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm
Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,056
Reaction score
135
Harrier.

Whilst I appreciate that it is probably does not relate to this specific thread (Nimrod MRA.4), could you share some of the details of the RAAF presentation regarding the original Nimrod?
I for one would like to see more details about this.
Thanks
Will need to check the chit I signed as it was for either a publicly funded project or a MOD funded one. Seems to be a HSA presentation though.
 

Zoo Tycoon

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
372
Reaction score
382
My interpretation of the video is that XV147 is the same as Zootycoon, that XV147 was originally purchased in 1993 as the form and fit demonstrator for the original interior changes and avionics fitting and that in 1995 the opportunity was taken to see if the wing centre section could be removed. Since a removal had never been attempted BAE were probably worried if the centre-section couldn't be removed then it would have scuppered or vastly complicated the re-engining proposal.
The real in-depth structural investigation would have taken place on the two (unidentified) Nimrods that the 1996 Flight article reference as being taken apart to assess the structure and its remaining life.

I too would like to see the BAE 2002 press release though, if a copy exists, hard to validate or interpret a document we have not seen. Clearly the 2002 financial report Harrier linked is more circumspect with vague mentions of unforseen problems.

I share Harrier's curiosity where the fuselage myths come from and he references earlier comments about the AEW.3 conversions. I can't help thinking that this leads us much further back in time and poses several other questions;
1) Was the Comet afflicted with similar fuselage difference issues?
2) Only the Nimrod prototypes are stated to have used surplus Comet 4C fuselages. Does this implies that the Chester production line for Nimrod was not building a complete stock Comet 4 fuselage barrel to deliver to Woodford? It would seem logical that they would keep churning out Comet 4 fuselages, therefore why should the main pressurised section fundamentally differ from the Comet? Differences in the unpressurised bespoke lower fuselage section I could imagine may have occurred.
3) Bespoke intakes built by hand might be plausible given the changes required to fit Spey, but with a production run of 49 why was there no standardised mass-produced intake part? Or indeed any other parts? Let's not forget that only 115 Comet airframes were ever built (not all completed) and only 74 of those were Comet 4 series, effectively the 49 production Nimrods extended the Comet 4 line by more than a third so there was no excuse to revert to bespoke hand-built items.

Hood
As I’ve said several times before, in 65 MOD commissioned a Nimrod specific set of tooling to ensure as much interchangeable as possibly within their fleet. This tooling operated in the principle the same as that used on the Comet. HSA claimed all Comet wings and fuselages were dimensional interchangeable within a specific type. There’s no real operational need to change a wing after join up but it makes sense if you’re making wings and fuselages on different and multi supplier production lines;- at point in Comets life Shorts were making fuselages.

Again as said before, compound curve panels are a real problem to produce to tight tolerance. If you’re going to do it you need multiple mid size tools for each panel, all expensive, heavy, and difficult to manufacture. Mid press cycle you have to stress relieve, anneal and even cut away small pockets which are prone to crack. If you’re only making a couple of hundred examples it doesn’t make financial sense, so the panels were hand rolled on English Wheels ( Note- Spitfire wing D noses, 4.5 m in length, were pressed/stretch formed during production, but every one that’s had a new wing since has hand rolled D Noses). This was done to save money, as simple as that.

The areas where the fuselage and others area such as intakes used compound curved where made to wide tolerance. The under fuselage pannier (unpressurised section) was constructed in several sections, some sections of which mated against the compound curved fuselage sections, so they were made to fit a particularly fuselage. From memory some sections of the pannier (the NLG section) were retained and these had to remain match to their mating fuselage.

Matching radomes would be similarly difficult (I was never involved in this so I don’t know what was done) and AEW3 would have suffered the same.

I been trying to recall the figures for the fuselage length difference in for 21 candidate airframes but it was a long time ago. As for all the 49 production aircraft, I never saw the figures for 28 airframes and a foot could have been quite possible. Also remember at the time there were about 30 Nimrods still around and we choose the best ones;- from the back of my mind I do remember comments about measurements discounting at least one airframe (fuselage) due to dimensional anomalies.
 
Last edited:

Zoo Tycoon

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
372
Reaction score
382
At the time of decision it seemed a mad scheme to fit new wings to old fusilages and simpler to just build all new even if it was Nimrods.
The logical options were A 400 or the MRTT as the basis for new MRA.

Though at time, there was still 146/RJX manufacturing line open.

I’ll tell the story of Nimrod in 1995 when I have a little more time which should answer your questions, but as I’ve said before in summary;- it had to be 100 tons, 4 engines and available in 2003....... which none of the above were except Nimrod 2000......or so they thought
 
Last edited:

CJGibson

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
May 26, 2011
Messages
1,424
Reaction score
638
Back from the boonies. re A400 and MRTT as Nimrod replacements.

Woodford analyses showed that a 12ft (3.65m) fuselage diameter was ideal and the Comet (Nimrod) was ideally sized. A larger diameter, ie A400, meant carting about too much weight and excessive drag while the MRTT had a similar problem and too much wasted space in the longer fuselage (similar for the VC10). MRTT (in A330 guise) only had two engines. See graphs on pages 142 and 181 of Nimrod's Genesis.

Don't start me on the Voyager...

Chris
 
Last edited:

alertken

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
595
Reaction score
159
CJG #109 - FRAL involvement.
FR had long provided oddjob mod. service to MoS/MoA - see Meteor/Sea Vixen drone conversions - and had established some original structural (re-)design competence. Precursors of BAe. had long accepted the Kwik-Fit logic of Heavy Maintenance and short-order mod.-jobs - that no sane User gives dirty carve-up work to the original manufacturer, who will repair by replacement. So Boulton Paul/Seighford, MCE/Cambridge, Shorts all did Canberra oddballs, which would simply clutter and disrupt a new-build production site.

During 1996, as BAe. accepted that Ministers meant what they were saying, that an all-in fixed price was required to defeat new P-7 or retread P-3s, BAe. went voluntarily to FRAL, who were doing good relevant work on Canberra PR9 and since 1992 jointly with SERCO had manned the Kinloss Nimrod Major Servicing line as touch labour sub-contractor to BAe. The contract awarded 12/96 had FRAL on sub-contract for the "overhaul" of incoming MR2 fuselages at a (partial) fixed price.

During 1999 BAe. grasped where the pain was to fall for overrun on the overall Programme £2.2Bn. price (2000 Annual Report Provided for Programme Loss of £300Mn.). Even though taking the FRAL workshare in-house would (presumably) cost more, they chose 11/99 to compensate FRAL for Termination at (BAe.'s) Convenience, with £32Mn. (I think discharged as the new hangar, plus other run-of-the-mill oddjobs, not solely as folding stuff). They preferred to retain the revenue and centralise as one Project (residual GEC-Marconi work too was integrated 30/11/99 as BAES).
 

Zoo Tycoon

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
372
Reaction score
382
CJG #109 - FRAL involvement.
FR had long provided oddjob mod. service to MoS/MoA - see Meteor/Sea Vixen drone conversions - and had established some original structural (re-)design competence. Precursors of BAe. had long accepted the Kwik-Fit logic of Heavy Maintenance and short-order mod.-jobs - that no sane User gives dirty carve-up work to the original manufacturer, who will repair by replacement. So Boulton Paul/Seighford, MCE/Cambridge, Shorts all did Canberra oddballs, which would simply clutter and disrupt a new-build production site.

During 1996, as BAe. accepted that Ministers meant what they were saying, that an all-in fixed price was required to defeat new P-7 or retread P-3s, BAe. went voluntarily to FRAL, who were doing good relevant work on Canberra PR9 and since 1992 jointly with SERCO had manned the Kinloss Nimrod Major Servicing line as touch labour sub-contractor to BAe. The contract awarded 12/96 had FRAL on sub-contract for the "overhaul" of incoming MR2 fuselages at a (partial) fixed price.

During 1999 BAe. grasped where the pain was to fall for overrun on the overall Programme £2.2Bn. price (2000 Annual Report Provided for Programme Loss of £300Mn.). Even though taking the FRAL workshare in-house would (presumably) cost more, they chose 11/99 to compensate FRAL for Termination at (BAe.'s) Convenience, with £32Mn. (I think discharged as the new hangar, plus other run-of-the-mill oddjobs, not solely as folding stuff). They preferred to retain the revenue and centralise as one Project (residual GEC-Marconi work too was integrated 30/11/99 as BAES).
On my second and final trip to Hurn I was told to park my hire car outside the FRA facility and walk in, because FRA were charging extortionate prices for BAe personal parking on site.
 
Last edited:

CJGibson

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
May 26, 2011
Messages
1,424
Reaction score
638
Thanks Ken, enlightening as ever. Explains a lot of odd-looking decisions.

Is parking the UK equivalent of gold-plated khazi seats?

Chris
 

Zoo Tycoon

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
372
Reaction score
382
Is parking the UK equivalent of gold-plated khazi seats?

Chris

No, it’s the desperation that a rapidly going bad, fixed price contract brings. FRA had to continue to pay its daily bills, such as wages etc, but couldn’t get any income from milestone payments that were heading to the right through no fault of their own.
 
Last edited:

Caravellarella

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2007
Messages
1,031
Reaction score
197
I'm interested to know if any heads rolled for this Nimrod MRA4 fiasco; are the executives & project managers still locked away in the Tower of London for treason and/or delusions of adequacy?

Terry (Caravellarella)
 

Grey Havoc

The path not taken.
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
11,709
Reaction score
1,864
Alas, no. The parliament then as now was corrupt to the core, and the Coalition government was little if indeed any better. (The less said about New Labor, the better...)
 
Last edited:

alertken

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
595
Reaction score
159
A project manager on Nimrod AEW3, responsible for central computer capacity (inadequacy), itself blamed for that fiasco, committed suicide.

Parliament had no involvement in MRA4 beyond Public Accounts Committee oversight, fed by National Audit Office Annual Reports on Major Projects. That is a dismal cavalcade and PAC has to choose each year which one is to be pursued. They are spoilt for choice. The Coalition Govt's contribution was to chop it, 19/10/10: that Coalition had taken office late-May,2010, so not their fault either.

The Ministers that chose a retread, not new build, were Conservatives under J.Major, 1995/96: they: rejected a Euro-MR (they did not reject the Future Large Airlifter...to be A400M...so what do we think about that?); they narrowed the field to new Lockheed P-7 (Super-Orion), to LORAL retread P-3C-as-K (some work in UK), and a Nimrod retread; they tried to buy the most-likely-to-stick fixed price. After the total shambles of AEW, surely that was right. That they got it wrong was not due to idiocy on-decision-day, Autumn, 1996.

But all this post-hoc cleverness simply deters Ministers: so now we have little or less UK content in AH-64E, P-8A, E-7A, Airseeker, Protector, Phenom... because Ministers are petrified of Project Managemen failure...again. Do we blame them? On a hiding to nothing. Buy jobs in UK...and spend time and money, bottomless pit. Or buy commonality with someone else who carries the risk... destroyer of British industry.

Let us beware of hindsight.
 

kaiserd

I really should change my personal text
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2013
Messages
1,016
Reaction score
348
Alas, no. The parliament then as now was corrupt to the core, and the Coalition government was little if indeed any better. (The less said about New Labor, the better...)

As per other contributors responses above this kind of comment isn’t fair or helpful (a best grossly simplistic, at worst misleading and unjustified undermining of necessary democratic political institutions.)
Politicians make plenty of bad decisions but they have also historically been the fall guys for specific failures by the aviation industry itself (and/or by the military when formulating requirements and/or making recommendations).
You rarely see the militaries coming out and saying they screwed up a requirement, or industries admitting they screwed up a developmental program.
The lead up to the 1957 mass culling, TSR2, Nimrod AEW (and this case) are each examples of cumulative systematic failures rather a than individual failures by specific politicians.
Perhaps always blaming the politicians who are responsible for but also totally dependent on the cumulative ”procurement system” makes repeats of these failures more rather than less likely?
It’s a bit like a man whose businesses keep failing blaming his bank managers because each time the overdrafts eventually stop being extended.
 

taildragger

You can count on me - I won a contest
Joined
Nov 2, 2008
Messages
303
Reaction score
173
On another topic, I recall reading in Bill Gunston's book that McDonnell Douglas had reached an agreement with BAe on licensing the Nimrod 2000 design for sales to the US Navy, which seems wildly unrealistic but someone had to think it was plausible. Does anyone reading have any knowledge of this agreement?
The only reason I can think of for such an duel is to give BAe something to impress not-so-plugged-in officials in the UK with and that McD signed it to facilitate other business in the UK.
 

Zoo Tycoon

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
372
Reaction score
382
Project Phoenix was an attempt for in parallel with MRA4, about 99-01, to investigate new build aircraft. A company on the Isle of Mann was given a short study contract to look at building new fuselages. I’m pretty sure the fuselages themselves were not to be built on the IoM, just the paper study of costs etc. We were aware of presentations being made to several potential overseas customers including the USN. It all went quiet very suddenly and shortly after we heard of the Boeing P8 proposal. Remember Boeing had the single biggest contract within the project to provide the MRA4’s mission system, so BAE couldn’t afford to upset them. No memory of a partnership being with MDD but I do remember a vague suggestions about a marriage of a 757 fuselage to an MRA4 wing but really not sure how serious. Project Phoenix was run quite separately from MRA4 so whilst we were aware of it, I didn’t know any of the project team themselves.
 
Last edited:

CJGibson

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
May 26, 2011
Messages
1,424
Reaction score
638
Politicians were a convenient Aunt Sally for many bad decisions, but they did listen to the Air Staff on OR.330 and Sandys was right. The problem I see nowadays, from our point of view, is that the files aren't being deposited at Kew. fewer and fewer files are appearing compared with the 50s and 60s. But I digress.

This looks tasty.

Nimrod_757.png

Chris

PS Yes Mike, Walking with Dinosaurs!
 

Attachments

  • Nimrod_757.png
    Nimrod_757.png
    81.5 KB · Views: 78
  • Nimrod_757.png
    Nimrod_757.png
    81.4 KB · Views: 114
Last edited:

Similar threads

Top