Air International 2005-09
J.Lake - New Roles for the Mighty Hunter /Military/
A Nimrod MR.2 in its traditional hunting ground - low over the sea. However, since the end of the Cold War more time is being spent supporting operations on land.
Five aircraft were given additional equipment for their participation in the Gulf War in 1991. This Nimrod MR.2 pictured in 1996 displays two of the items, a GEC Sandpiper forward looking infra-red (FLIR) turret and a BOZ chaff/flare dispenser.
A WESCAM MX-15 turret-mounted electro-optical and infra-red camera under the starboard wing of a Nimrod MR.2. This system was utilised in Afghanistan and Iraq for surveillance support of ground forces.
Nimrod MR.2s were heavily involved in the Falklands campaign in 1982 providing maritime reconnaissance and search and rescue cover. Had the need arisen it could have taken a more aggressive role as the AGM-84A-1 Harpoon anti-ship missile was integrated along with the ability to carry 1,000lb bombs and BL755 cluster bombs. Sidewinders were also added with the aim of shooting down Argentinian Air Force reconnaissance Boeing 707s. This aircraft is pictured in October 1982 at Wideawake Airfield on Ascension Island, a vital base during the war.
On April 1 this year the Nimrod MR.2 force was reduced from 21 to 16 aircraft with the disbandment of 206 Squadron. This formation of Nimrods was flown during the rehearsal for the disbandment flypast of the squadron.
The operator's station of the WESCAM MX-15 on a Nimrod MR.2.
Nimrod MR.2s' increasing role in land operations will be incorporated and advanced with the MRA4. Production Aircraft (PA) 02 has recently been painted into its grey camouflage and is seen at BAE Systems’ flight test centre at Warton.