Defence written question – answered on 16th October 2006.

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Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Nimrod aircraft were operated by the RAF in each of the last 10 years; what the average age was of these aircraft in each year; what the age was of the oldest aircraft operated in each year; what plans he has to replace these aircraft; and if he will make statement.

Photo of Des Browne Des Browne Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence, The Secretary of State for Defence

holding answer 13 September 2006

The following table shows the number of Nimrod aircraft in service at the end of March of each financial year. It also shows their average age and what the age was of the oldest Nimrod aircraft operated by the RAF in each of the last 10 years.

Financial year Number of aircraft Average age of aircraft in year Oldest aircraft in year
1996-97 29 26 28
1997-98 28 27 29
1998-99 26 28 30
1999-2000 26 29 31
2000-01 24 30 32
2001-02 24 31 33
2002-03 24 32 34
2003-04 24 33 35
2004-05 24 34 36
2005-06 24 35 37

The Nimrod MR2 will be replaced by the Nimrod MRA4, which has a planned in service date of 2010. A production contract for 12 MRA4 aircraft was announced in a written ministerial statement on 18 July 2006, Hansard, column 14WS. On current plans, the Nimrod R1 aircraft will continue to provide an electronic reconnaissance capability with incremental upgrades to that capability.

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Steve Macdonald
Posted on 17 Dec 2006 10:43 am (Report this annotation)

Is it not the case that the end of the financial year used for the compilation of this table masks the cutbacks to the Nimrod MR2 fleet from the 1st April 06.

Mark Bestford
Posted on 17 Dec 2006 1:11 pm (Report this annotation)

Hmmm, maybe what should have also been said then is what they expect to be running with over the next 10 years as well then?

How many R1s are expected to be in service from now till 2015 and how many R2s are expected to enter active service in each year from 2010?

It is quite a scary thought though when you realise that the defense of the nation is reliant on our pilots flying planes that are nearly 40 years old, can you imagine the outcry if our pilots had been expected to fly spitfires and lancasters during the Falklands war?