Production

A total of 49 Nimrods were built by Hawker Siddeley at Woodford. Forty-three MR.1s were delivered to the RAF: thirty-eight between 1967 and 1972, and from a further batch of eight airframes, five became MR.1s between 1973 and 1975. Of the remaining three of this batch, two were built as AEW.3s and one was built directly to MR.2 standard. The remaining three airframes were built to R.1 standard and delivered prior to 1973.

Eleven airframes were selected for conversion to AEW.3 standard. XZ286 made its first flight with large nose- and tail-mounted radomes in July 1980. All eleven airframes were converted to AEW.3 standard, but most of them never received the AEW mission electronics. After the radar failed to meet the required specification, the AEW.3 project was cancelled in 1986. Several of the airframes were stored at RAF Abingdon for several years before being scrapped in the 1990s.

Thirty-four MR.1s were upgraded to MR.2 standard in the late 1970s and early 1980s. XV236 was the first conversion, being delivered to No 201 Squadron on August 23rd 1979. Central to the upgrade was the installation of the Searchwater maritime radar alongside a completely new acoustic processing system. The tactical navigation systems were updated, and installed computer power increased 50-fold. The only visible external modification was the addition of a ram air intake on the rear fuselage, but the capabilities of the aircraft were vastly increased.

In May 1982 eight MR.2s were equipped with an AAR capability as part of Operation Corporate. In just 18 days the aircraft were fitted with AAR probes taken from Vulcans, and stabilising winglets on the tailplane. The AAR capability gave the aircraft an endurance on 20 hours, which was necessary to allow patrols over the South Atlantic.

Four MR.2s were scrapped in the early 1990s as corrosion took its toll, two crashed, and one was converted to R.1 standard in 1996. Twenty-one of the surviving 27 MR.2s were due to be further upgraded under the Nimrod 2000 (MRA.4) program.

At the end of May 2009 the MRA.4 order was reduced to only nine airframes in order to save the MoD about 100 million. The replacement for the Nimrod R.1 has been postponed to save a further 400 million.

The first production MRA.4, aircraft PA-04 (ZJ514, ex-XV251) made its maiden flight from Woodford on September 10th 2009. It flew a successful 1 hour 40 minute sortie during which it performed a variety of manoeuvres to test handling.

The whole MRA.4 programme weas cancelled on October 19th 2010.


(NB aircraft with serials in blue are those I have personally seen. Serials in red are aircraft which have crashed. Serials in magenta are aircraft withdrawn from service. Serials in purple are those I have seen which have been withdrawn.).

Serial c/n Type Operator Notes Img
XV147 6467 (6476?) HS.801   Originally built as a Comet 4C. It made its first flight as XV147 on 31 Jul 1967. It spent its whole life in research and development of both MR.1 and MR.2 electronics. Although it was powered by Avon 525B engines its power generating system was upgraded to satisfy the requirements of its on-board systems. Scrapped at Warton Mar 2003
XV148 6477 MR.1(mod)   Made its first flight on 23 May 1967 from Chester to Woodford. Until Jan 1969 it was used for basic airframe and engine development at Woodford. Between May and Sept 1968 it was used on A&AEE assessment trials at Boscombe Down. From October 1969 to March 1970 it was used in preparation for missile trials. It participated in A&AEE tropical trials between July and October 1969. Between March 1970 and Jan 1972 it was used for Martel, AS12 and SS11 trials from Woodford and Boscombe Down. In Jun 1972 it was employed on conversion to Searchwater development work. Scrapped ?. The cockpit section is at Malmesbury.
XV226 8001 MR.2   This was the first aircraft to be fully equipped as a Nimrod MR.1. First flew on 28 Jun 1968. It was used for both tropical and cold-weather trials in 1969 and 1970, and also for autopilot development. It went into RAF service in January 1973 after 281 test flying hours with Hawker Siddeley, and a further 198 from Boscombe Down. Wfu 31 Mar 2010. Del to Bruntingthorpe 27 Apr 2010 for preservation.
XV227 8002 MR.2   This aircraft was used for armament development at Woodford and Boscombe Down. It finally entered service as an MR.2 but continued to carry fatigue recording equipment. Suffered a hot air duct failure on 04 Nov 2004. Arr Woodford 01 Jul 2007 for MRA.4 conversion (PA8/ZJ521).
XV228 8003 MR.2   This was originally used by A&AEE at Boscombe Down for assessment of navigation and tactical systems. It was also used for weapon system trials at AUTEC in the Bahamas. Entered RAF service on 06 Jun 1973 after 852 hours of test flying. At Woodford for MRA.4 conversion in Nov 2005 (ZJ523).
XV229 8004 MR.2   It was initially used for clearance of all the comms systems, but later became Boscombe Down's 'hack' for such things as SARBE personal locator beacon trials and the communications refit for the Mk2. It flew 214 hours with Hawker Siddely, and another 402 at Boscombe. It entered service as an MR.2 in 1979. Wfu 31 Mar 2010.
XV230 8005 MR.2   The first Nimrod to be delivered to the RAF at St Mawgan on 02 Oct 1969. Crashed in Afghanistan 02 Sep 2006 after a fuel leak caused a catastrophic fire. 14 fatalities. Had flown a total of 18691:20 hours.
XV231 8006 MR.2   Wfu 31 Mar 2010. Del to Manchester Ringway 21 Apr 2010 for preservation.
XV232 8007 MR.2   Wfu 31 Mar 2010.
XV233 8008 MR.2   At Woodford for MRA.4 conversion (ZJ520/PA-7)
XV234 8009 MR.2   Arr Woodford 02 Dec 99 for MRA.4 conversion (ZJ518/PA-2)
XV235 8010 MR.2   Suffered fuel leak on 05 Nov 2007 over Afghanistan. Wfu 31 Mar 2010.
XV236 8011 MR.2   First MR.2 conversion. Delivered 23 Aug 1979. Arrived Boscombe Down 29 Jul 2008 on its final flight before being broken up for aging aircraft auditing purposes. Aircraft was scrapped at Boscombe Down on 08 Dec 2009 and all items were removed by 11 Dec 2009.
XV237 8012 MR.2   Scrapped St. Austell May 1994
XV238 8013 MR.2   Scrapped Elgin 1991
XV239 8014 MR.2   Crashed 02 Sep 1995 Lake Ontario, Canada. Seven fatalities.
XV240 8015 MR.2   To gate guard at Kinloss 09 Sep 2009.
XV241 8016 MR.2   Wfu 31 Mar 2010.
XV242 8017 MR.2   At Woodford for MRA.4 conversion (ZJ517/PA-3)
XV243 8018 MR.2   Entered service in 1970. Converted to MR.2 standard in 1984. Arr Woodford 27 Apr 2006 for MRA.4 conversion (ZJ524). Accumulated 19194 flying hours as an MR.1/2.
XV244 8019 MR.2   Last flight 31 Jul 2009, having flown just over 18,000 hours. Wfu 31 Mar 2010. Puchased by Morayvia for display.
XV245 8020 MR.2   Arr Woodford ?? 2005 for MRA.4 conversion
XV246 8021 MR.2   Arr Waddington 12 Jan 2006. The stripped fuselage was airlifted to Woodford on 19 Dec 2007.
XV247 8022 MR.2   Arr Woodford 23 Nov 99 for MRA.4 conversion (ZJ516/PA-1).
XV248 8023 MR.2   CAT5 as of 28 Feb 2010.
XV249 8024 R.1   Converted from MR.2 in 1996. The aircraft's fuel system had to be rebuilt to cure a series of fuel leaks. Made its final flight on 28 Jun 2011.
XV250 8025 MR.2   Wfu 31 Mar 2010. Del to Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington 13 Apr 2010 for preservation.
XV251 8026 MR.2   Arr Woodford 26 Apr 2000 for MRA.4 conversion (ZJ514/PA-4).
XV252 8027 MR.2   Wfu 31 Mar 2010.
XV253 8028 MR.2   9118M. Scrapped at Woodford by May 2009 owing to corrosion.
XV254 8029 MR.2   CAT5 as of 28 Feb 2010. Nose section to go to Inverness Air Museum in Apr 2010.
XV255 8030 MR.2   Wfu 31 Mar 2010. Del to City of Norwich Air Museum 24 May 2010.
XV256 8031 MR.2   Crashed 17 Nov 1980 shortly after taking off from Kinloss. Two fatalities.
XV257 8032 MR.2   Suffered Cat 5 damage during a fire on 03 Jun 1984. Scrapped at Woodford 24/25 March 1993.
XV258 8033 MR.2   Arr Woodford 08 Nov 1999 for MRA.4 conversion (ZJ515/PA-5).
XV259 8034 AEW.3P   Broken up at Stock Oct 1998. Nose preserved at Solway Av Museum, Carlisle. Fuselage GIA Chattenden.
XV260 8035 MR.2   Wfu 31 Mar 2010.
XV261 8036 AEW.3   Scrapped Lyneham 1995  
XV262 8037 AEW.3   Delivery date Aug 1972. Scrapped Abingdon Jun 1992
XV263 8038 AEW.3P   8967M. Fuselage arr Woodford from Bournemouth 15 May 2002. Nose section at BAE Systems/Warton.
XW664 8039 R.1   Del date 07 Jul 1971. At NAS Patuxent River 17 Apr 2003 to 04 May 2003 to test "Project Extract" systems. Wfu June 2011. To East Midlands Airport 12 Jul 2011.
XW665 8040 R.1   Made its final flight on 27 Oct 2009.
XW666 8041 R.1   First flight 11 Sep 1973. Del date 27 Sep 1973. Ditched 16 May 1995 in the Moray Firth after an uncontained engine fire. Nose at Long Marston Oct 1999.
XZ280 8042 AEW.3P   Scrapped Abingdon Apr 1992.
XZ281 8043 AEW.3   Completed as an MR.1. It was DB3 in the AEW program, initally for Mission Systems proving but later as the A&AEE Boscombe Down Trials Team aircraft. Scrapped Abingdon 1991.
XZ282 8044 AEW.3   Scrapped Elgin Mar 1996.  
XZ283 8045 AEW.3P   Used as Mk1 front crew training aircraft at RAF Wyton. There were no rear avionics fitted. Came back to Woodford and was converted to the AEW Communications Trials Aircraft in 1979/1980. It first flew as "CTA trials aircraft" on 20 Feb 1980. Last Trials Flight was on 15 Oct 1980 prior to full AEW Mk3 conversion. Scrapped Abingdon 1991.
XZ284 8046 MR.2   The only Nimrod to be new-built to MR.2 standard. Arr Woodford Aug 2000 for MRA.4 conversion (ZJ519/PA-6)
XZ285 8047 AEW.3   Completed as an MR.1 but was immediately converted to an AEW.3. Scrapped Abingdon May 1992.
XZ286 8048 AEW.3   First flew as DB1 on 16 Jul 1980 at Woodford without mission avionics. 4 large fuel tanks in the cabin were used to alter CG as part of airframe testing trials. Also conducted nav/flight control trials. The aircraft was grounded in October 1982 and put into the production line for full AEW.3 conversion. Scrapped Abingdon 1991. Rear section to Kinloss for GI duties (8968M).
XZ287 8049 AEW.3   Was DB2, the development aircraft for the Marconi GEC Radar & Mission Systems. Made its first flight on 23 Jan 1981. 9140M at Stafford.
ZJ514 PA-04 MRA.4   Conversion of XV251. Made its maiden flight on 10 Sep 2009 at Woodford. Formally accepted by the MoD on 10 Mar 2010. Cancelled 19 Oct 2010. Scrapped at Warton 16 Feb 2011.
ZJ515 PA-05 MRA.4   Conversion of XV258. Made its maiden flight on 08 Mar 2010 at Woodford. Cancelled 19 Oct 2010. Scrapped Woodford 24 Feb 2011. Nose to Cranfield Mar 2011.  
ZJ516 PA-01 MRA.4   Conversion of XV247. Development aircraft. Made its maiden flight on 26 Aug 2004 at Woodford. Last flight 09 Mar 2010. Wfu at Woodford. Scrapped Woodford 15 Mar 2011.
ZJ517 PA-03/PA-13 MRA.4   Conversion of XV242. Development aircraft. Made its maiden flight on 29 Aug 2005 at Woodford. Would have been the 9th production MRA.4. Scrapped Woodford Jan 2011.  
ZJ518 PA-02 MRA.4   Conversion of XV234. Development aircraft. Made its maiden flight on 12 Dec 2004 at Woodford. Last flight 05 Mar 2010. Wfu at Woodford. Scrapped Woodford 15 Mar 2011.
ZJ519 PA-06 MRA.4   Conversion of XZ284. Cancelled 19 Oct 2010. Scrapped Woodford Feb 2011.  
ZJ520 PA-07 MRA.4   Conversion of XV233. Cancelled 19 Oct 2010. Scrapped Woodford by 15 Feb 2011.  
ZJ521 PA-08 MRA.4   Conversion of XV227. Cancelled 19 Oct 2010. Scrapped Woodford by 15 Feb 2011.  
ZJ522 PA-09 MRA.4   Conversion of XV244. Cancelled 19 Oct 2010. Scrapped Woodford by 03 Feb 2011.  
ZJ523 PA-10 MRA.4   Conversion of XV228. Cancelled 19 Oct 2010. Scrapped Woodford Feb 2011.  
ZJ524 PA-11 MRA.4   Conversion of XV243. Cancelled 19 Oct 2010. Scrapped Woodford 26 Jan 2011.  
ZJ525 PA-12 MRA.4   Conversion of XV253 - not completed.  

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