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BAE SYSTEMS Nimrod MRA.4

Zoo Tycoon

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No, it’s contained in the sentence;- A400m was BAESYSTEMS preferred Nimrod MR2 replacement. Due to be launched in Autumn 1994 but deferred. Actually launched in 2002.

RMPA = Regional Maritime Patrol Aircraft
 

Springtime

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Was there any attempts to sell the MRA.4 as a P-3 Replacement i remember reading the BAE considered offering it for the US Navy's P-8 Program but couldn't find a US Based partner
 

Fluff

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Was there any attempts to sell the MRA.4 as a P-3 Replacement i remember reading the BAE considered offering it for the US Navy's P-8 Program but couldn't find a US Based partner
Do you mean the systems into a different airframe? Or actually comet based airframes? USN must have at the time had 200?+ P-3, so not sure how the 40 or so nimrods MR2 airframes(upgraded) would replace these?

Just the embarrassment factor makes me hope this isn't true.
 

Fluff

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Springtime/Fluff
See posts 158-160
Er, thanks for the re-direct, but how am I going to sleep tonight, some things should be left unseen.....

I mean why Join a 1940's wing, to a 1960's fuselage - assume it was something to do with getting 4 engines, but shirley fitting some smaller engines to the 757 al la B52 style would be a much simpler way to tick that box?

Really we would be doing the world a favour to delete this whole subject......
 

shyab

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Was there any attempts to sell the MRA.4 as a P-3 Replacement i remember reading the BAE considered offering it for the US Navy's P-8 Program but couldn't find a US Based partner
yes new build aircraft around the same time they where having major problems with the UK programe
 

Zoo Tycoon

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I mean why Join a 1940's wing, to a 1960's fuselage - assume it was something to do with getting 4 engines, but shirley fitting some smaller engines to the 757 al la B52 style would be a much simpler way to tick the box.

The wing was available new (remember there was a manufacturing line at Chaderton) and there were plenty of 757 around so it was a pretty cheap option. RMPA’s don’t need to high tech air platforms.

It’s very easy to look back with glorious hind sight on the whole four engine requirement and pronounce it stupid. However in the early nineties ETOP’s was unproven with many doubter even for commercial aviation (ETOP’s was said to really mean Engines Turning Or Pax Swimming). Add to that a number of very real stories of RMPA operators being a thousands miles away from a runway/SAR (search and rescue) and experiencing multiple bird strikes at low level, taking out one or two engines. The P8 concept even today doesn’t have enough operating time to validate the critical safety case and given the statistics required, never will. The commercial statistics are irrelevant as they are all at one altitude band (above the weather), one throttle setting and at a nice cosy one G. This is the reason why P8 was designed along with its sensor kit to operate from higher altitude and low level kit like the MAG was deleted.
 
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Foo Fighter

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So, do rotary wing aircraft perform the MAD role now?
 

JFC Fuller

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The idea for selling the MRA.4 into the US Navy for the MMA requirement was based on being able to produce new fuselages using modern manufacturing techniques and materials in a way that would avoid re-certification. It is recorded in a July 2002 Flight International article available here, some of the relevant details are below:
Nimrod managing director Tom Nicholson says 60-80 engineers are working on concept studies to take the Nimrod fuselage and re-engineer it for modern production processes.

Nicholson says the studies are considering how to replace the redux bonding originally used to attach stringers and frames to the skins and take advantage of digitally controlled machining techniques to make fuselage frames in one piece rather than building them up from multiple components.

Major changes to the fuselage would be avoided to eliminate the need for recertification, says Nicholson, although this may limit what can be ultimately done with the redesign.


It would be interesting to know what the technical conclusions of these studies were.
 
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Springtime

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My understanding is that the MMA Airbus A320? ASW and BAE Nimrod were rejected/withdrew from the Program was the mutual inability to find a US partner wich is ironic as Northrop Grumman was Airbus partner for the KC-45 and now as of 2020 Airbus can probably just make aircraft for the US Military with out a Partner because of their Alabama Plant
 

Zoo Tycoon

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We had, I think two official briefings on Project Phoenix (both pretty vague; short on detail), the MRA4 derived solution for MMA. Indeed the last was very positive, only for It to then go cold shortly thereafter. As I’ve posted before Project Phoenix was conducted quite separately to MRA4 , only joined at the top management circle. I think Boeing blew any partnership out the window.

The work was conducted by a design outfit on the Isle of Mann. Officially the work was for new low manufacturing costs Comet fuselages. The 757 fuselage suggestion didn’t come from the official briefings but from a quiet conversation with a chap who had a direct line of reporting to the upper circle. I’ve no reason to doubt it.

As far as I know there wasn’t a submission to MMA from Airbus.
 
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LowObservable

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Mr Zootycoon is right. The MRA4/MMA proposal seemed quixotic at the time but in fact Navair was very interested because of the extra two engines, because LM's Orion-21 was an underperformer, because Navair wanted someone to hold Boeing's feet to the fire, and because something else that was important. LM had a brief flirtation with Airbus, terminated by a death fatwa from the Washington state congressional delegation. Navair's only real option was the Boeing proposal, that emerged as an almost completely new, expensive and overweight airplane vaguely resembling a 737 and lacking severely in TOS.
 

marauder2048

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It’s very easy to look back with glorious hind sight on the whole four engine requirement and pronounce it stupid.
However in the early nineties ETOP’s was unproven with many doubter even for commercial aviation

Really hard to reconcile that claim with the trajectory of ETOPS regulatory limits during the period
and the roadmaps and product launches of the two major commercial aviation manufacturers.
 

Zoo Tycoon

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It’s very easy to look back with glorious hind sight on the whole four engine requirement and pronounce it stupid.
However in the early nineties ETOP’s was unproven with many doubter even for commercial aviation

Really hard to reconcile that claim with the trajectory of ETOPS regulatory limits during the period
and the roadmaps and product launches of the two major commercial aviation manufacturers.
What you mean like when AIrbus launched the A3456, then the clean sheet A380 while Boeing launched the 747-8, all with four engines? All after the ETOPs regulations? At the time many considered the first accident would be the end of it. Of course history didn’t have that event so the four engined aircraft died...... it still took 25 years.
 

marauder2048

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What you mean like when AIrbus launched the A3456, then the clean sheet A380 while Boeing launched the 747-8, all with four engines? All after the ETOPs regulations? At the time many considered the first accident would be the end of it. Of course history didn’t have that event so the four engined aircraft died...... it still took 25 years.

I mean the A330 and 777 and not failures. ETOPS had been rev'ed upwards continually through the 80's. That's what allowed
the A330 and 777 (along with 767-300ER) to be launched.

The A340 and A380 were a bad case of hole envy and prestige project.
And quite why VLA widebodies would have any bearing on MPAs is a bizarre and unsustainable premise.
 

Hobbes

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A380 and 747-8 were launched with 4 engines because there wasn't an engine powerful enough to fit only 2.
 

EwenS

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ETOPS 90 min certified on A300 in 1976.
ETOPS 120 min certified 1985 on 767-200 and A310
ETOPS 180 min certified 1988 and started in 1989, but initially only on aircraft types with 1 year of trouble free ETOPS 120 min service. Only in 1990 did Boeing obtain permission for the 777 to have it from initial certification.
ETOPS 240 mins from 2007 on the A330
ETOPS 330 mins from 2011 on 777 initially on GE engined models.

The time limits are also based on the single engined cruise speed for each type.

The A319/320/321 only received ETOPS 180 in 2004 and the 737 NG variants in 1999, despite having 120 min ratings since the 1980s.

So when Nimrod MRA4 was selected in 1996 the only twin jet airliner based options from the civil market would have been large wide body airframes, so probably too big for the role.
 

marauder2048

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ETOPS 90 min certified on A300 in 1976.
ETOPS 120 min certified 1985 on 767-200 and A310
ETOPS 180 min certified 1988 and started in 1989, but initially only on aircraft types with 1 year of trouble free ETOPS 120 min service. Only in 1990 did Boeing obtain permission for the 777 to have it from initial certification.
ETOPS 240 mins from 2007 on the A330
ETOPS 330 mins from 2011 on 777 initially on GE engined models.

The time limits are also based on the single engined cruise speed for each type.

The A319/320/321 only received ETOPS 180 in 2004 and the 737 NG variants in 1999, despite having 120 min ratings since the 1980s.

So when Nimrod MRA4 was selected in 1996 the only twin jet airliner based options from the civil market would have been large wide body airframes, so probably too big for the role.

So the overwhelming trend through 1996 was that ETOPS restrictions were being greatly relaxed; the claim was that there were doubts in
"commercial aviation." As your condensed history indicates, this is demonstrably untrue.

The history is also incomplete since the 767 has 180 minute ETOPS by 1993.

The individual making the claim tried to undergird it by pointing to (failed) VLA developments during this period
so clearly bigger aircraft are in scope.
 
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Zoo Tycoon

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The above information you rely on is demonstrably incorrect as the Boeing 777 didn’t get it ETOP’s clearance until 1995. Prior to that no ETOPs was granted at entry into service and the basis for granting it previously was problem free statistically significant non ETOPS inservice experience which was unobtainable by a small fleet. Add to this the risk aversion within the MOD and it’s just not going to fly.

I was there and saw this, did you?
 
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Zoo Tycoon

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The ETOP’s clearance for 757 and 767 was based on on statistical significant non ETOPs operation that was completely irrelevant to an RMPA. Hence it would be a fresh start with a fleet size that could never attain the required operational hours. Do you know how the ETOPs cert process applicable at that time worked?
 

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. Add to this the risk aversion within the MOD and it’s just not going to fly.

Says it all, ETOPS or not, MOD would view ETOPS for fare paying passengers, where they might make it home from cruise altitude on one engine. Not the same as losing 50% at 500 feet over the atlantic. Hence desire to only lose 25%

25 years later, we have twin MPA's.

Thats progress!
 

marauder2048

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The ETOP’s clearance for 757 and 767 was based on on statistical significant non ETOPs operation that was completely irrelevant to an RMPA. Hence it would be a fresh start with a fleet size that could never attain the required operational hours. Do you know how the ETOPs cert process applicable at that time worked?
Military aircraft tend to have small fleet sizes so it's vacuously true that it's difficult to attain the required operational hours.
But since MPAs don't necessarily have to get FAA/EASA certification and we were talking about demonstrable, readily
observable trends in the early 90's this is all irrelevant.

Naturally, as an alleged contributor to a disastrously failed project, you have a strong
motivation to generate apologia and revisionism.

"We were waylaid by technological trends that we couldn't have seen coming."

That's your argument. It's utterly, demonstrably untrue.

@LowObservable chimes in with his typical "USA boogieman" apologia to try to help you out.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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This topic has degraded beyond belief since I last read it. Marauder2048 has a week ban to reconsider his behaviour before permanent ban.
 

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One aspect not often talked about, in regards to the MRA.4, was its attack capability. The MRA.4 was fitted with pylons capable of carrying Storm Shadow cruise missiles, and JDAMs, turning it into a bomber, of sorts.


 

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One aspect not often talked about, in regards to the MRA.4, was its attack capability. The MRA.4 was fitted with pylons capable of carrying Storm Shadow cruise missiles, and JDAMs, turning it into a bomber, of sorts.


That is one of the reasons why I miss the Nimrod MRA.4 Wyvern, I liked the fact that the RAF were going to install the Storm Shadow and the JDAM, that is why I still miss the Nimrod after all those years after it was scrapped. I wonder is the P-8 ever going to be as capable as the Nimrod MRA.4 was going to be?
 

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From what I've heard, it won't unfortunately. However, if the need arises, I would assume such a system would be retrofitted, if possible.
 

uk 75

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A wide ranging thread.
The use of the Comet made sense as it was the only medium sized four jet airframe available in the 1960s-707 and VC10 were seen as too large. As it turned out only the RAF wanted such a fast ASW aircraft, everyone else went for props (Atlantique, Orion, Il38). There were no overseas sales for the original Nimrod, Australia and Canada who seemed good prospects went with P3.
The RAF still wanted a fast 4 jet long range ASW in the 90s and the Comet was still the only medium sized 4 engine airframe available. BAe would probably have been better off building a new airframe but that would have opened the door to the updated Orion the Germans liked.
Whether two engined P8s and Kawasakis can operate safely over stormy seas on one turbofan remains to be seen. The Nimrod was irreplaceable.
 

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Kawasaki P-1 has the four engines you desire and is very similar in size to the P-8. Always fancied it for the RAF but P-8 seems to have been the only show in town.
 

uk 75

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Kawasaki P-1 has the four engines you desire and is very similar in size to the P-8. Always fancied it for the RAF but P-8 seems to have been the only show in town.
Woops thanks for pointing that out. Forgot it had 4. Got confused with the transporter.
Cost, offsets and N Atlantic interoperability with US all factors I imagine.
 

Grey Havoc

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As it turned out only the RAF wanted such a fast ASW aircraft, everyone else went for props (Atlantique, Orion, Il38).
Not quite. The USN's Martin P6M Seamaster for example was killed off by the perceived need to pour money into covering rather large Polaris program cost overruns.
 

timmymagic

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One aspect not often talked about, in regards to the MRA.4, was its attack capability. The MRA.4 was fitted with pylons capable of carrying Storm Shadow cruise missiles, and JDAMs, turning it into a bomber, of sorts.


That is one of the reasons why I miss the Nimrod MRA.4 Wyvern, I liked the fact that the RAF were going to install the Storm Shadow and the JDAM, that is why I still miss the Nimrod after all those years after it was scrapped. I wonder is the P-8 ever going to be as capable as the Nimrod MRA.4 was going to be?

The P-8 is getting LRASM capability for c2027. The contract award also mentioned that 500lb to 2000lb JDAM, MALD, SDBII and Mines could be added as well. The BRU-55 rack is being integrated that will allow 2 x 1,000lb JDAM per pylon, that could also be used for JSOW. It wouldn't be a huge step at all to go from LRASM (which has land attack capability) to JASSM or JASSM-ER. There hasn't been a mention of Sidewinder though, which was originally on the list of weapons to be added to P-8.

Interestingly....Nimrod MRA.4 was definitely going to get Sidewinder, Paveway's, Harpoon, Stingray and Maverick. In reality I suspect if it had not been cancelled it would have entered service with ASRAAM, Paveway IV, Stingray and the remainder of the UK's Maverick stocks from the Harrier fleet. I suspect Brimstone would have been added at some point, perhaps when Maverick had reached end of life. As to Anti-Ship missiles I've no idea if the UK would have life extended Sea Eagle or Harpoon stocks if Nimrod hadn't been cancelled.

Oh and Nimrod MRA.4 was also originally going to get......AMRAAM....
 

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As it turned out only the RAF wanted such a fast ASW aircraft, everyone else went for props (Atlantique, Orion, Il38).
Not quite. The USN's Martin P6M Seamaster for example was killed off by the perceived need to pour money into covering rather large Polaris program cost overruns.
I think Seamaster was a nuclear highspeed bomber, not ASW. Admittedly the difference now is minimal, although I'd expect the 'backseaters' to have a view, as at least the seamaster gave everyone a bang seat.
 

Grey Havoc

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It was intended to be capable of carrying out either role, as well as other ones such as mine laying and maritime reconnaissance.

p6msub-jpg.74971

(h/t RyanCrierie)
 

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