§ Patrick Mercer
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the Nimrod MRA4 programme; and what problems have been experienced. 492W
§ Dr. Moonie
Nimrod MRA4 is a highly complex, software intensive and sophisticated product. The degree of technical challenge has led to a delay in delivery, with the in-service date re-set in 1999 to March 2005. BAE Systems are driving hard for this target and the key interim deliverable of first flight, expected by the end of this year. The Ministry of Defence and the company are also ensuring that Day 1 and whole life support are in place as required. The capability to be provided will be a step change from that currently available. Nimrod will be the leading class product, evidenced by US interest in MRA4 as a contender for their Multi-Mission Aircraft programme.