The Nimrod maritime reconnaissance aircraft was derived from the Comet airliner. It originally entered RAF service in 1969 in MR1 variant to replace the Avro Shackleton. From 1979 35 aircraft were upgraded to the improved MR2 standard. Nimrod continued in service until 2010 when its successor, the MRA4 was cancelled. The aircraft was modified to carry wing-mounted Sidewinder air-air missiles for self -defence during the Falklands conflict in 1982 were known as the ‘RAF’s biggest fighter’! Less successful was the airborne early warning version, Nimrod AEW3 which was test flown but did not enter service.
The three Nimrod R1 electronic-intelligence gathering aircraft entered service in 1971. They carried up to 29 crew and were involved in all major conflicts in the latter part of the 20th and early 21st centuries. When one of the original aircraft was lost following an accident in 1995, XV249 selected as a replacement and, after conversion, flew with No. 51 Squadron from RAF Waddington. It took part in operation Ellamy over Libya in 2011 thus remaining operational until its withdrawal from squadron service on 28 June 2011.