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BAE Systems - Nimrod MR4 First Production Aircraft Powered Up

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BAE Systems
: 08 December, 2008  (New Product)
Woodford, UK - A major milestone has been achieved on the Nimrod MRA4 programme with the first production aircraft, PA04, being powered up for the first time.
As electrical power coursed through the new aircraft, test engineers worked through the test procedure without a glitch.

A high level of build maturity is needed for power to be applied. The aircraft is currently 93 per cent complete, and the successful ‘power on’ will allow the remainder to be completed.

Further tests and checks will be conducted before the vast array of computers, systems and sensors are installed and the aircraft powered up again.

In parallel, the MRA4 development programme continues to make significant progress with development aircraft PA01 and PA02 completing Airfield Performance Trials at Istres in France.

Using Europe’s longest runway, ten weeks of trials saw extensive performance information gathered.

Key elements of the trials included:

• Long distance taxi runs of up to 6.8 miles and brakeless decelerations.

• A series of acceleration – stop tests at different combinations of weights and speeds to measure the aircraft's performance. These included runs at 125 knots with the aircraft at the maximum take off mass and braking hard to assess the effect on brakes and tyres.

• Refining take-off technique and measuring the speeds and distances involved

• Testing to determine the minimum speed from which a take-off can be safely continued in the event of an engine failure during take-off. These tests also measured the effect of such an engine loss on the pilot’s ability to maintain safe directional control on the runway.

• Assessing how the aircraft performs with the aircraft trim not correctly configured for take-off.

Steve Timms, Nimrod MRA4 Managing Director, said: “The trials have been extremely successful, with the aircraft and demonstrating excellent reliability throughout. The fact we were able to operate the aircraft so successfully overseas shows the growing maturity of the MRA4 platform. Indeed, over one two week period, PA01 achieved 25 flights, a new record in the flight test programme.”

“We’ve now completed around 400 flights on the three development aircraft with more than 1300 hours flown. Qualification of the aircraft systems is almost complete. Add to this ‘power-on’ a production aircraft and we’re making good progress towards meeting the planned in-service date of 2010.”
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