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NIMROD Comes to Town for Five-year Test


Brough, UK – It’s not everyday that a Nimrod MRA4 aircraft comes up your street. But when it does, it is the sort of thing that demands a double-take from even the most level-headed of pedestrians.

BAE Systems brought a Nimrod to Brough 18 months ago to ensure that one of the world’s most advanced reconnaissance aircraft could benefit fully from one of the world’s most advanced structural testing centres.

Bollards were moved, streets cordoned off, and crowds waved as the aircraft known as the ‘Mighty Hunter’ was low-loaded in sections into the BAE Systems Brough facility for months of demanding testing which will help certify its strength and durability.

It has taken over a year to build the supporting structure used to assess the 40 ton aircraft components under test and, in total, 150 tons of steel structure will be used to do the job. During preparations for the testing the Nimrod had to be suspended 20 feet above ground level while the supporting framework was put in place underneath.

Once complete, the structural testing rig can assess the ability of the airframe to withstand stress with incredible accuracy – at times seeing how the aircraft copes with loadings of up to 165 tons – the equivalent weight of 25 African elephants.

While much still has to be done, the testing itself is expected to start in March 2008 and will run for a full five years.

Nimrod wing fatigue test programme Alan George said: “These tests are among the most advanced to take place in the world. They provide incredibly useful data which will help inform the rest of the programme for many years to come. Brough can be proud to play such a pivotal role in one of the UK’s major large aircraft development programmes.”


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