Thunder & Lightnings

Hawker Siddeley Nimrod - Survivor XW664

R.1 XW664 - East Midlands Aeropark, Castle Donnington, Derbyshire

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Nimrod R.1 XW664 at East Midlands Aeropark, 21st September 2023; Jake Wallace

The first of the initial trio of R.1s built for the RAF, XW664 served with 51 Squadron for her entire career. Her last use in a combat theatre was flying over Libya in support of Operations Ellamy and Unified Protector, where the Nimrod R.1's role was to fly off the Libyan coast to intercept communications and radar signals from pro-Gaddafi forces. She relieved XV249 for these Libyan operations at the end of May 2011, gaining the distinction of being the last Nimrod to be used operationally.

In common with some of the other airframes in the Nimrod fleet, she was offered up for disposal to museums and East Midlands Aeropark was successful in bidding for her. On 12th July 2011, XW664 made her final flight from RAF Waddington to East Midlands Airport, where she was welcomed with a water cannon salute from the airport fire service.
The airframe was kept over at the airport for some time while being decommissioned, including the removal of her engines and much of the interior before being towed around to the museum site on the edge of the airport. Thankfully, a couple of years after her retirement, the Aeropark managed to get their hands on much of her interior which was slowly refitted over time, although some parts still remain missing from the airframe.

XW664 is well looked after and is opened regularly to visitors, however, her paint is looking rather faded, but it seems that some of her markings are beginning to have a touch-up!

Information on this page current as of 25/09/2023, last updated by Jake

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