Navy to buy new aircraft

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THE Royal Navy is looking to buy a fleet of maritime patrol aircraft for up to £1 billion just weeks after the Ministry of Defence scrapped the new Nimrod aircraft at a cost of £3.6 billion.

The MoD confirmed last week that the navy wanted to buy its own maritime patrol aircraft to track enemy submarines to replace the Nimrods, which are being broken up for scrap.

The new RAF Nimrod MRA4s had not even come into service when the prime minister announced last October that as part of the strategic defence review he was scrapping Nimrod.

The navy, which was furious that RAF bosses had agreed to get rid of Nimrod at a time of increased submarine activity, has already set up a team to buy a replacement and ensure that it is flown by the Fleet Air Arm. The programme is being run by Commodore Simon Kings with a team made up of naval officers.