BAe Nimrod R.1 XW664 at East Midlands Aeropark


Three Nimrods were adapted for the SIGINT role replacing earlier Comets (the spiritual ancestor to the Nimrod airframe) and Canberras of No. 51 Squadron in May 1974. The R.1 can be distinguished from its maritime reconnaissance variants by the lack of a MAD boom protruding from the tail. It was fitted with an array of rotating dish aerials in the aircraft’s bomb-bay, with further dish aerials in the tail cone and at the front of the wing-mounted fuel tanks. It had a flight crew of four (two pilots, a flight engineer and one navigator) and up to 25 crew operating the SIGINT equipment.

The last flight of the type was on 28th June 2011 from RAF Waddington and shortly after, XW664 was transferred to East Midlands Aeropark on 12 July 2011 to go on public display after the removal of classified systems. XW664 was chosen to be reserved because it was the first Nimrod to be converted to R.1 status. One Nimrod R.1, XW666, was lost in an accident in 1995 and to demonstrate just how important the type was a maritime reconnaissance variant was rebuilt as an R.1 to make up the shortfall.

All photos were taken on a rather frosty 18th January 2015. Internal photos are credited to Tim Morley.




9 responses to “BAe Nimrod R.1 XW664 at East Midlands Aeropark

    • In the SIGINT/ELINT roles the RAF acquired a handful of RC-135s to replace the R.1. In the maritime reconnaissance role there hasn’t been an actual replacement yet with the Royal Navy’s frigates and helicopters taking a large portion of the role backed up by Sentry AEW.1s acting as coordinators. Trust me when I say that the government got a massive backlash over the way the whole thing has been handled. At present it looks like the P-8 Poseidon will be acquired but amazingly the Japanese (who are on the verge of abolishing their self imposed restriction on arms exports) have indicated that they want to tailor their P-1 to an RAF requirement.


  1. Pingback: Defence of the Realm – Museum Exhibits | Defence of the Realm

  2. Pingback: Defence of the Realm – Royal Air Force | Defence of the Realm

  3. Pingback: NEWS: Second RC-135 for RAF to be delivered in August | Defence of the Realm

  4. I have a signed print by the crew members of Nimrod R1 XW664 RAF Wyton. I was given it by my parents long time friend Harry Hall who was an air electronics officer that was on this aircraft 51 Squadron . Sadly died now but what stories he could tell me . Would anyone be interested in this print . The signatures are all original and signed on the print . I also have a framed Nimrod etching on copper . Email me if interested .


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s