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December 22, 2014 10:26 am

I would gladly have my home-towns council funds cut by 1.8% in order to pay for these… ;)

December 22, 2014 10:46 am

I think we need a fleet of the P-1A’s , a dozen at the minimum and they need to be just as the US are buying them. No can we have … If you could just…. Is it possible to….. Identical to the US units will maximise crossover and keep costs down by not giving Boeing (a profit making company ! ) an excuse to bump up the price because they can.

The Other Nick
The Other Nick
December 22, 2014 11:22 am

I expect the P-8A is the choice of the MoD/RAF for the MPA mission reflecting the largess of the major Boeing sales campaign, but as always dependent on the newly elected political masters in May 2015, it would not be my choice.

The US Director Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) of the P-8A was anything but complimentary.

• P-8A requirements do not adequately measure the effectiveness of the P-8A’s two
primary missions: finding and killing enemy submarines and reconnaissance
– JROC-approved KPPs require only that P-8A fly a specified range while carrying a required number
of sonobouys and that it communicate with certain radios
– KPPs could be achieved without finding and killing enemy submarines or conducting
• DOT&E argued for an OT that examined whether the Navy’s Concept of Employment
for P-8 could be executed under realistic combat conditions
– Testing went beyond simple verification of KPPs
– Navy’s Operational Test Agency agreed with this approach
– Navy performed realistic testing during Fleet exercises using a full set of mission systems and crew
to examine their ability to find and attack submarines and perform reconnaissance using the P-8A
– Testing revealed important deficiencies the Navy is now working to fix through improved long-range
• DOT&E sent a memorandum to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who
chairs the JROC, noting the lack of coverage of realistic combat conditions in the
P-8A’s, and other systems’, approved KPPs
– Admiral Winnefeld moved to improve the P-8A’s and other systems’ KPPs, and specifically
requested the continued involvement of DOT&E in assisting the JROC to do that ”

The Boeing proponents of the P-8A will claim that future upgrades will rectify these deficiencies and everything will be sweet and light.

My other objection is the cost which will be $250 million plus per system and as far as I know zero UK content for a billion pound project cost to the UK taxpayer for a very limited number of aircraft unable to meet the OR.


December 22, 2014 11:32 am

Correction P-8A

Jeremy M H
December 22, 2014 12:00 pm


Pretty much all DOTE reports tend to read that way. I wouldn’t worry too much about it honestly.

The DOTE, like the GAO to an extent, has kind of become a monster into itself. The problem is that running programs to satisfy them both early doesn’t accomplish anything. You would spend 20 years derisking everything for the GAO and the next 15 testing it to death for the DOTE if you wanted a clean report prior to entry into service.

December 22, 2014 12:05 pm

Jeremy – are you suggesting DoD has found the true path to pragmatism? A way of getting useful kit to the User in a realistic and timely manner? Now that’s something MOD should import from the States.

December 22, 2014 12:40 pm

It was the time to get it in service leaving big windows for revisions to be suggested ,costed,reviewed ,updated, re-costed , reviewed again etc that killed Nimrod

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
December 22, 2014 12:57 pm

I don’t know why but I have always thought the kawasaki P1 would be a better option, especially if we bought it without the Misson systems and then worked with the Japanese to fit our own which I believe already exist.

December 22, 2014 1:00 pm

monkey – I’m pretty sure the airframe disasters played a big part; the embarrassment of finding the CAD-designed wings didn’t fit the fettled-by-hand fuselages only when assembly was attempted must have hurt the programme’s reputation badly. “Didn’t anyone bother to measure them?…” But mostly the cancellation has to be a spreadsheet axe on a high cost programme way behind original schedule. If that was a function of the revisions being stuffed in by MOD then really they only have themselves to blame. Although there was previous on this – rumourmill suggested the AEW3 would have been a fine solution if it had been allowed to progress to service in its originally required form. But years of add-in requirements and stretch requirements and re-interpretations of what constituted compliance resulted in an airframe so woefully overloaded it was never going to be useful. I think all this requirement churn is what MOD calls its ‘value-add’?

December 22, 2014 2:04 pm

The wing root disparity and the inability to have custom made interfaces between the new wings and the unique wing roots was a testament to our times and the loss of skills that were commonplace in the industry 50 years ago but are now ‘impossible’ to achieve by hand . Tech has moved on though, a scan of each wing root by a laser measuring device would now have supplied the data for the CAD software to extrapolate back from for each wing, albeit each new wing being unique in its own right. The question is would they scan each wing root though or just assume they all either matched the drawings ( not likely) or were all the same as the one they did measure

The Other Nick
The Other Nick
December 22, 2014 2:30 pm

@ Jeremy M H

I have more faith in the DOT&E than believe in the black propaganda spread about them by the US DoD and their Admirals and Generals, too many end up employed by Boeing and LM et al when retired.

There was the corruption case of Darleen A. Druyun a US Air Force Principal Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and in 2003 became Boeing executive $250,000 p.a. plus $50,000 signing on fee. Jailed in 2005 for fixing prices on the K767 and SDB, Boeing were fined the small matter of $605 million. More recently this year retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula has been fined $125,000,
full details

December 22, 2014 4:29 pm

The P-8A is perfect for the UK. It would be better than the C-130 they are using for MPA and it is in production right now.

December 22, 2014 5:52 pm


Everyone was well aware of alignment issues long long long before wing join up infact when the bids went in. Scanning joints again no, wouldnt of made a button of difference the guys doing the job measured up each airframe at airframe survey. It wasn’t just the wing route is was elevator/ rudder attachments it was avionics racks between frames it was everything that went near an existing bit of structure was out but +\- 1 inch at least and none were the same, this is stuff that usually it done to within +\- a hairs breadth.

December 22, 2014 8:06 pm

” It would be better than the C-130 they are using for MPA and it is in production right now.”

So would be a fleet of specially trained talking Albatrosses. I think your point there is null as C130 is being used only in a SAR role in the UK. And in enhanced SAR in the FI. Nimrod as far as I know was never deployed to the FI. So other that SAR capability in the UK we are in the same situation with the herc.

P8 is I believe the most likely looking at the seedcorn programmes but I would much prefer to see a Hi Lo fleet with it combined with the c295. The cost savings in the larger fleet could be achieved by having all large ISTAR platforms 737 based and you can use the c295 for smaller ISTAR or when you need something smaller than A400.

That or A400 and C295.

Or just A400…

Donald of Tokyo
Donald of Tokyo
December 22, 2014 11:12 pm

How about ex-used P-3Cs?

It is
– cheap to buy and can fly for another 15-20 years, and many airframes exists
– so-so cheap to operate: many are to fly in the world for 15-20 years (no fear for support), can be easily modified to have the same engine as C130s you have (see NZAF)
– is faster and has a long on-station time than C130
– used as “world-wide standard” and well matches with the current ASW tactics
– and already has a ASW, ASuW kits installed, which means you can operate it right after the purchase (say, ~1yr for traning?)

To my understanding, P-1 in Japan is designed as “super P-3C”, while P-8A is NOT.

Foremer transits to the theater in high altitude/speed and then descend to lower altitude for sono-buoy operation. P-8A is will be flying at high altitude even at ASW operation(?), although I think they can do it. It looks like P-8A is much optimized for ASuW surveillance than classical ASW. Not sure if my knowledge about the P-8A tactics is correct, but that is what “they” say when we are going to develop our own P-1.

I personally not selling P-1 for a moment, we in Japan also need to wait for the results of its initial operation. It is much sensible for me to life-extend the P-3Cs, not only because they can fly for long, but also because I believe MPA is now “at the point of game changing, i.e. UAV operation will be prevailing in 10 years term”.

I am also not sure if the P-8A is good at its tasks, as well.

Thus, using ex-used P-3Cs will save the time for a moment, and then, 15-20 years later, you can look for its replacements.


December 23, 2014 6:50 am

Living not that far away from Kinloss I know a few ex RAF guys who worked on the Nimrods.

All are of the opinion scraping it & the mr4 was the right choice. Opinions are mixed however on a replacement.

The P8 is favourite given the use by the USN, the fact that RAF crews are already used to & potential for a future AWACS.

The Japanese P1 appeals due to its 4 engines & purpose build while the Sea Herc is anothers personal favourite given its range & cargo space, though he does say that he likes the idea of giving Hercs to the coastguard for SAR.

December 23, 2014 6:09 pm

I am not so sure that Nimrod AEW3 would of ever been able to meet operational requirements even in a downgraded state.

The number of bad decisions that surround the program is staggering! The GEC 4080M computer only had 1mb of memory expandable to with an extra 1.4mb via a databus which was derisory even for the time, this led to track continuity and duplication issues leading eventually to total over-load and it totally packing in. Another issue is the heat generated by the system, the fuel tanks were used as a heat-sink which was all very well but they could only be half filled due to the greater than expected heat if the system was run at full power. So much for range and endurance, rather an important issue for an AEW platform.

It was a total spinning bow-tie extravaganza! Interestingly enough they did look at other safer options when the program was in the initial stages. In particular integrating either the AN/APS-125 or AN/APA-171 plus associated avionics off the Hawkeye onto the Nimrod using either an American radome or one adapted with a British transmitter and receiver plus some avionics. Considering how spacious a Nimrod is in comparison to the Hawkeye it would of been a far lower risk option and would of benefited by allowing us to piggy back onto USN upgrades to the Hawkeye. A curious what if, in the end cancelling Nimrod AEW3 and buying Sentry was the right choice for the time.

What is sad no lesson was taken from this when they tried to adapt Nimrod again leading to the MRA4 debacle.