The Nimrod MR2, based at RAF Kinloss in Scotland, is a maritime patrol aircraft used primarily in the roles of maritime surface surveillance, anti-submarine warfare, and search and rescue. Carrying a crew of 13, the aircraft is fitted with radar, magnetic and acoustic detection equipment. The Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft can also assist in search and rescue (SAR) operations by searching for survivors, giving guidance to rescue craft at the scene, and dropping survival equipment if needed.
The MR2 fleet will be replaced by Nimrod 2000 in a refurbishment programme managed by British Aerospace. The Replacement Maritime Patrol Aircraft (RMPA) competition was won by BAe with their Nimrod 2000 proposal. The RAF has formerly declared that the aircraft will be known as Nimrod Maritime Reconnaissance & Attack (MRA) Mark 4. The contract for the delivery of 21 Nimrod MRA4 aircraft training systems and initial support was signed with BAe in December 1996. The refurbished aircraft, to be delivered between 2001 and 2006, will have new wings, BMW/Rolls Royce fuel efficient engines, modern control systems, 'glass' cockpit instrumentation, and a comprehensive suite of the latest sensor, computer and communications equipment.
As of March 1999 the estimated cost of procurement of Nimrod MRA4 was #2.4 billion (at September 1998 economic conditions), an increase of 0.5% since the contract was placed in December 1996. When the contract was placed, BAe undertook to meet an ISD of April 2003. Resource and technical difficulties with the early phases of the program at BAe mean that the company did not expect the aircraft to enter service with the RAF before early 2005. The precise slippage was the subject of negotiations between MoD and BAe."