Nimrod MR2 Fleet Retires After Over 40 Years Of Service
On Friday, March 26, VIPs, RAF personnel, their families and a
number of veterans attended an event at RAF Kinloss to mark the
last days of the Nimrod MR2. And over the last few days, MR2s have
visited some of the air bases that have helped form its history,
such as the former RAF St Mawgan (now Newquay International
Airport) and in Guernsey, to mark 201's Squadron's affiliation with
An ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and
Reconnaissance) asset, the Nimrod MR2 Force has been tasked to
perform a wide variety of roles in support of the UK's defence.
They have had the capability to conduct surveillance over land and
sea, anti-submarine attack and search and rescue.
Attendees at Friday's event had the opportunity to look round a
Nimrod aircraft and tour some exhibitions covering the operational
role of the MR2 over its last 31 years. A short parade of the
Squadron Standards followed, and a valediction which was given by
Air Officer Commanding 2 Group, Air Vic Marshal Steve Hillier.
The highlight of the event was the formation fly over by two
Nimrods. Unfortunately, the planned final flight of the Nimrod MR2
which was due to take place Wednesday was cancelled as strong winds
battered the north of Scotland. It had been hoped that a Nimrod MR2
would overfly Scottish airfields, but in the end the weather won
RAF Kinloss is part of No 2 Group, Air Command, RAF. The Station
has been the permanent main operating base for the RAF Nimrod MR2
Force of 11 aircraft operated by crews from Nos 120 and 201
Squadrons. The MR2 is due to be replaced by nine MRA4 aircraft, the
first of which is expected in spring 2010.
RAF Kinloss Station Commander, Group Captain Robbie Noel, said
"We are clearly sorry to see the Nimrod MR2 retire but today is an
opportunity to reflect on the marvelous contribution to national
security made by the Maritime Patrol Force. The Nimrod has been
involved in every major conflict in the last 40 years as well as
protecting the UK's shores and supporting those working at sea
through its Search and Rescue role. Much of our work has
necessarily been shrouded in secrecy, but it is with great pride,
affection and confidence that we say farewell to this version of
'The Mighty Hunter'."
"It is essential, also, that we pay tribute to those who have
lost their lives while serving on and with this Force; we remember
them vividly, and they continue to inspire our efforts," Noel
continued. "Having amassed over 3,000 flying hours on this
aircraft, I will certainly miss the MR2 but look forward, as we all
do at Kinloss, to the arrival of MRA4 in the next few months. The
new version of 'The Mighty Hunter' is a huge leap forward, and I am
particularly excited to be introducing it to Kinloss in the very
Yorkshire Air Museum near Elvington is the first museum to buy a
Nimrod for its collection and will be taking delivery on April 13,
and there are plans to put Nimrods in other museums as well.
Aircrew selected to be MRA4 Instructors will move to number 42
(Reserve) Squadron, the training Squadron. Those selected as future
front line MRA4 aircrew will be posted to 201 Squadron and 120
Squadron where a training package is being developed to deliver a
range of MRA4 training and development activities. Around 50
aircrew who will not be transferring to the MRA4 will be posted to
other units around the RAF.
Ground crew not already transferred to the MRA4 Maintenance
Section have been canvassed on their preferences for new postings
and where possible these aspirations will be met.