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ON THIS DAY: 28th June 1968

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

The first flight of XV226, the first production Hawker Siddeley Nimrod


By the early 1960s, the Royal Air Force’s airborne maritime reconnaissance capability was almost entirely in the hands of a still relatively new aircraft, the Avro Shackleton. However, the Shackleton was soon outdated as technologies quickly developed on both sides in these early days of the Cold War. Due to this, Air Staff Requirement 381 was put out for a similarly capable aircraft, with longer range and the ability to not only be able to fly to a mission with considerable speed (preferred for tactical purposes) but also an ability to fly low and slow over the water for a more effective use of the onboard radar and for the crew to be able to identify targets visually.

The Avro Shackleton, the aircraft the Nimrod was developed to replace.


The preferred airframe of choice was a DeHavilland design, the DH106 Comet Jet Airliner, an aircraft which previously gained fame for being the first passenger airliner to be powered solely by Jet Engines. It was however proven that the comet design alone would not be sufficient for our new MR aircraft.


Two unfinished Comet 4C airframes were offered up for the Nimrod Prototyping, XV147 and XV148, which were modified to be Nimrod (type no. HS.801) aircraft in the following ways. Cosmetically, a Pannier was added below the original fuselage shape stretching from the nose (which was now altered in shape to a lower point) and stretched back just aft of the wings, accommodating the ASV21D radar, similar to that in the Mark 3 Phase 3 Shackleton.