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 Post subject: Nimrods home to roost
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:38 pm 
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The crying waste involved in scrapping the remaining Nimrod MR4s sees the end of a saga that began with a decision made by Portillo in his capacity as defence secretary for the Major government. How apt it is that the mistake, having been made by a Tory minister, should have to be corrected by ... a Tory minister. And how typical it is that the taxpayer foots the bill, currently up to £4.1 billion, for which we get nothing at all but an expensive pile of scrap.

View full article here

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 Post subject: Re: Nimrods home to roost
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:49 pm 

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My recollection from the time of the original decision is that the American AWAC was the alternative. It sounded the better of the options to me; admittedly, I know nothing of the subject other than what I read in the press. However, for national pride reasons, and probably the unhealthy desire to give taxpayers money to BAE (is that what they used to be called) meant that the godawful Nimrod option was selected. So, where has all the money gone? And why can't we get some AWACs now?


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 Post subject: Re: Nimrods home to roost
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:23 pm 

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On the face of it keeping 45 year old airframes operational is pretty daft, but the old Comet derived Nimrod did have one trick up its sleeve that modern replacements don't appear to offer. As the engines are close in to the fuselage and comparatively well cowled in, they can shut 1 or 2 of them down for long periods, when a low level "loiter" capability is required. This can considerably increase the endurance, which would be particularly useful on the sort of maritime emergencies you mention in this post.

Although modern engines are extremely reliable, having 4 of them when you're engaged in low level work in the middle of the Atlantic is preferable to the 2 fitted on aircraft such as the modified B737's which are being touted as replacements. I also suspect that the airframe is a lot stronger than newer designs. Things tended to be over engineered back then...


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 Post subject: Re: Nimrods home to roost
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:46 pm 

Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2007 8:27 am
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No. The AWACS was the alternative to Nimrod AEW - airborne early warning. The MR4 decision was controversial at the time and Burning Our Money is the place for the history.
http://burningourmoney.blogspot.com/200 ... -news.html


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 Post subject: Re: Nimrods home to roost
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:58 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:09 pm
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Briansj, Thanks for the link. The behaviour of BAE is not unusual in contracting circles. I have personally been involved in contracts that have been bought by the least good bidder, only for them to produce substandard design, engineering and construction and to shamelessly renegotiate the final cost, to cover their unrealistic original bid plus a bit more just because they can. So, I wonder if anyone will actually call for an investigation into where the £4bn has gone? Also, I suspect that we are now in a weak negotiating position for any future aircraft to fill the gap left by Nimrod.


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 Post subject: Re: Nimrods home to roost
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:17 pm 
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john in cheshire wrote:
My recollection from the time of the original decision is that the American AWAC was the alternative. It sounded the better of the options to me; admittedly, I know nothing of the subject other than what I read in the press. However, for national pride reasons, and probably the unhealthy desire to give taxpayers money to BAE (is that what they used to be called) meant that the godawful Nimrod option was selected. So, where has all the money gone? And why can't we get some AWACs now?


As so often with MoD procurement competitions, it was rigged from the start ... there was only going to be one winner ... BAE Systems.

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 Post subject: Re: Nimrods home to roost
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:28 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:59 pm
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I too agree with The Register (your link Lewis Page). I read it some hours ago and noted this was the only blog reminding us of the structural problems of Nimrod -

Quote:
they had been essentially coach-built, bodged together with the blueprints used more as a guide than followed with any accuracy in the modern sense. Trying to rebuild, re-equip and re-engine them, with no real idea what the physical dimensions and internal layout of any given plane actually were, was a technical nightmare.


Just imagine how many Lockheed P2 Neptune type aircraft could have been bought with the same money! But what makes me smile is the suggestion that one use of the Nimrod is preventing drug smuggling. Look at the cost again, it would be cheaper and perhaps more effective to spend that on drug rehabilitation work. Mind you for that to be effective you would have to work out how so much illegal stuff is available in our prisons.


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 Post subject: Re: Nimrods home to roost
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:36 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 6:11 pm
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Location: The European State of Insanity
dave ward wrote:
On the face of it keeping 45 year old airframes operational is pretty daft, but the old Comet derived Nimrod did have one trick up its sleeve that modern replacements don't appear to offer. As the engines are close in to the fuselage and comparatively well cowled in, they can shut 1 or 2 of them down for long periods, when a low level "loiter" capability is required. This can considerably increase the endurance, which would be particularly useful on the sort of maritime emergencies you mention in this post.

Although modern engines are extremely reliable, having 4 of them when you're engaged in low level work in the middle of the Atlantic is preferable to the 2 fitted on aircraft such as the modified B737's which are being touted as replacements. I also suspect that the airframe is a lot stronger than newer designs. Things tended to be over engineered back then...


As far as I know, this is true. Modern civil aircraft are built to incredibly fine tolerances that just wouldn't be suitable for military use, which is part of the reason the US still uses 707s for its AWACS airframes.

I find it odd that they felt it necessary to essentially rebuild the entire jet in order to keep it. For that money they could have designed an entirely new replacement that used a similar configuration (engines in wing near the root and so on), with much better performance than the rebuilt nimrods and with much better quality control, as well as providing a large number of jobs in the UK.

I recall one of the problems with the MR4 was that they had to custom-build each one as each airframe was a slightly different shape, which drove the cost through the roof. I bet they could have built a comparable new aircraft for about two thirds of the price and had the option to build many more for other purposes if needs be.

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 Post subject: Re: Nimrods home to roost
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:49 pm 
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archonix wrote:
dave ward wrote:
On the face of it keeping 45 year old airframes operational is pretty daft, but the old Comet derived Nimrod did have one trick up its sleeve that modern replacements don't appear to offer. As the engines are close in to the fuselage and comparatively well cowled in, they can shut 1 or 2 of them down for long periods, when a low level "loiter" capability is required. This can considerably increase the endurance, which would be particularly useful on the sort of maritime emergencies you mention in this post.

Although modern engines are extremely reliable, having 4 of them when you're engaged in low level work in the middle of the Atlantic is preferable to the 2 fitted on aircraft such as the modified B737's which are being touted as replacements. I also suspect that the airframe is a lot stronger than newer designs. Things tended to be over engineered back then...


As far as I know, this is true. Modern civil aircraft are built to incredibly fine tolerances that just wouldn't be suitable for military use, which is part of the reason the US still uses 707s for its AWACS airframes.


I really don't buy that ...

http://www.saabgroup.com/Air/Airborne-S ... _Aircraft/
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/Ind ... ons-05247/
http://adiewicaksono.wordpress.com/2008 ... indonesia/
http://www.kustbevakningen.se/documents ... kyddad.pdf

and this as a round-up

http://www.shpmedia.com/images/MPA.pdf

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 Post subject: Re: Nimrods home to roost
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:23 pm 

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Bah, humbug! PDT_Armataz_01_27


PDT_Armataz_01_05

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 Post subject: Re: Nimrods home to roost
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:42 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:03 pm
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Ark Royal and the Harriers scrapped. Illustrious to follow soon
Various lesser warships scrapped or sold.
RFA vessels and staff retired and not replaced.
Military Manpower reduced. Miltary civil service and procurement unaffected!
New vehicles over budget and not fit for theatre.
Chinook numbers being reduced
Typhoon fighters having to be converted to ground attack to justify their continued existence
Billion pound destroyers sailing around without a working main armament nor protection from anti ship missiles.
Two flight decks being built without planes. One likely to be mothballed or sold on completion.
The hunter killer fleet being reduced as Astutes become operational

I'm far from an expert in military matters but there does seem to be a political will in play to reduce the effectiveness of British military might. Wondering as one does is it a case of the Cameroid being told to reduce it to allow the creation of the EU defence force OR is it a yet more evidence that the corporations can sell anything to the politicians as long as the right palms are greased OR is it just plain old fashioned political stupidity?

No matter who is responsible for these planes being ordered or scrapped the waste of money and the amount of time wasted on them is inexcusable. It does seem that politics brought the contract into being and by politics I means BAE playing politics and then trying to force these bespoke planes to conform to 'modern' production methods and when they couldn't they hid the fact from the politicians who didn't look to close and simply coughed up whatever BAE asked for. (You should hear some of the stories going round the local Astute class shipyard.)
A logical conclusion does make you think that we are actually living in a world controlled by corporations not elected governments.

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 Post subject: Re: Nimrods home to roost
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:59 pm
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Accurate aircraft, incredibly fine tolerances for the structure on both civil and military aircraft are essential. The Boeing 707 was built by a company who understood this hence their commercial success. The dimensional problems found, years ago, on the Nimrod should have been a reason to scrap the thing then.


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 Post subject: Re: Nimrods home to roost
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:03 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:28 am
Posts: 805
archonix wrote:
dave ward wrote:
I also suspect that the airframe is a lot stronger than newer designs. Things tended to be over engineered back then...


As far as I know, this is true. Modern civil aircraft are built to incredibly fine tolerances that just wouldn't be suitable for military use, which is part of the reason the US still uses 707s for its AWACS airframes.


The Boeing E-3 AWACS was developed at a time when the 707 was still a newish design. The new Rivet Joint aircraft are converted from KC-135s because the USAF still has hundreds of them and spares are not a problem. Modern military aircraft are also built to incredibly fine tolerances; ground engineers require an varied assortment of precision-made hammers to service them properly.

I think the point you are making is that modern aircraft designed on CAD software, built with CAM software on laser calibrated jigs are accurately built and the +/- 2" tolerance for mounting controls on the cockpit sides of the DH Vampire, for example is a thing of the past. There is true component interchangeability without highly skilled fitting. In addition to the differences between individual aircraft, BAe's decision to scrap the Nimrod production jigs didn't help in hindsight, nor did subbing fuselage re-lifing to FRA/Serco in Hurn. In short, it was a bad decision to reuse the Nimrod for was was a 95% new aircraft, but politics being politics, it appeared thrifty and the least risky choice.


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 Post subject: Re: Nimrods home to roost
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:08 pm 

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oops! double posted!


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 Post subject: Re: Nimrods home to roost
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:52 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:28 am
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Slightly off topic but the SAR Helicopter PFI contract is in trouble: http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2011/01/r ... ng-rotors/


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