Naval Air: Nimrod Fades to Black

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February 7, 2008: Britain is borrowing two U.S. Air Force electronic monitoring aircraft (C-135 Rivet Joint) to fill in because of shortages. The aircraft will have joint British and American crews, but will be painted in Royal Air Force colors. The shortage was created when Britain sharply reduced the use of its Nimrod maritime reconnaissance aircraft, which are also used for electronic monitoring. The cause has been age related problems (fuel leaks and air circulation problems). The Nimrod is a 1960s design that uses the airframe of the 1950s era Comet airliner. There has been work on a replacement aircraft, but money shortages, and disagreements over specifications, have delayed this.

A Nimrod crashed in Afghanistan in 2006 because of fuel leak problems, and the remaining 18 Nimrods are considered too old to be fixed by anything short of a complete rebuild. That would take too long, and Britain needs the electronic monitoring aircraft now. So they are leasing two from the United States. Royal Air Force personnel (commanders and Nimrod air crews) are not happy with this situations, having been put off (by the politicians) for decades when they complained of the aging Nimrods.

 


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