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Nimrod British Aerospace
Maritime Patrol/
Anti-Submarine Plane

The Nimrod is a highly capable maritime reconnaissance platform that served with distinction in the Falkland Islands War with Argentina. The airframe is based on that of the de Havilland Comet airliner but with new engines and an enlarged lower fuselage containing a weapons bay. The most recent model is the MRA.4 equipped with much more capable radar, faster computers, and other avionics.

Unfortunately, the program has been hampered by serious safety concerns due to the age of the basic airframe and a high profile crash during operations in Afghanistan.

Data below for Nimrod MR.2P
Last modified 06 April 2011

First Flight (HS 801) 23 May 1967
(Nimrod MR.1) 28 June 1968
Service Entry


CREW: eleven: pilot, co-pilot, nine systems operators



Wing Root unknown
Wing Tip


Length 126.75 ft (38.63 m)
Wingspan 114.83 ft (35.00 m)
Height 29.71 ft (9.08 m)
Wing Area 2,116 ft (197.0 m)
Canard Area

not applicable

Empty 86,000 lb (39,010 kg)
Normal Takeoff unknown
Max Takeoff 191,800 lb (87,000 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: unknown
external: unknown
Max Payload

13,500 lb (6,124 kg)

Powerplant four Rolls-Royce RB.169-20 Spey Mk 250 turbofans
Thrust 48,560 lb (216 kN)

Max Level Speed at altitude: 575 mph (925 km/h)
at sea level: unknown
patrol speed: 230 mph (370 km/h)
Initial Climb Rate unknown
Service Ceiling 42,000 ft (12,800 m)
Range typical: 4,855 nm (9,000 km)
ferry: 5,020 nm (9,300 km)
g-Limits unknown

Gun none
Stations 1 internal weapons bay and 2 external hardpoints
Air-to-Air Missile AIM-9 Sidewinder
Air-to-Surface Missile AGM-84 Harpoon
Bomb various free-fall
Other depth charges, mines, up to 9 Stingray torpedoes, ECM pods, recon cameras

HS 801 Prototype built by Hawker Siddley before its acquisition by British Aerospace, modified from Comet 4C airframes with a shorter fuselage, enlarged underfuselage, stronger landing gear, and other structural improvements; 2 built
MR.1 First production model built for electronic intelligence only; 46 built
R.1 Similar to the Nimrod MR.1 but with different underwing pods for special electronic reconnaissance missions; 3 built
MR.2 Maritime patrol plane with a new search radar, inertial navigation system, upgraded data processors, new navigation and acoustics analysis computers, and new comunications equipment; 35 MR.1 models upgraded to the MR.2 standard
MR.2P Upgraded MR.2 airframes with an IFR probe

Proposal to rebuild MR.1 airframes equipped with an advanced radar antennae at the nose and tail for use as early airborne warning aircraft, suffered prolonged development problems and was eventually cancelled in favor of the Boeing E-3 Sentry; 11 were to have been rebuilt
MRA.4 or
Nimrod 2000

Upgraded MR.2 airframes with new electronics and engines; 21 to be rebuilt


Falklands War (UK, 1982)
Iraq - Operation Desert Storm (UK, 1991)
Bosnia - Operation Deliberate Force (UK, 1995)
Afghanistan - Operation Enduring Freedom (UK, 2001-?)
Iraq - Operation Iraqi Freedom (UK, 2003-?)
Libya - Operation Unified Protector / Ellamy (UK, 2011)


United Kingdom (Royal Air Force)



  • Bishop, Chris, ed. The Encyclopedia of Modern Military Weapons: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Weapon Systems from 1945 to the Present Day. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1999, p. 286-287, 369.
  • Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1997, p. 214-215.
  • Gunston, Bill, ed. The Encyclopedia of Modern Warplanes. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1995, p. 74-75.
  • Munro, Bob and Chant, Christopher. Jane's Combat Aircraft. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995, p. 60-61.
  • Paul Nann's Military Aviation Photo Gallery
  • Rendall, David. Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide, 2nd ed. London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1999, p. 125.

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