On Monday 24 January 2011, private contractors working for the UK Ministry of Defence began the dismantling of new and nearly finished Nimrod MRA4 reconnaissance aircraft acquired for the Royal Air Force. One aircraft was already flying, one nearly ready to fly, and the remaining seven were allegedly close to completion for deliveries to begin in 2011. However, as a result of cuts in the defence budget the aircraft have been scrapped. At a reported cost of around £450 million each, it is the most expensive aircraft to have been built, to fly successfully but not to have reached operational status. Originally 21 Nimrods were to be bought and this was later reduced to 12 and then to nine aircraft. The programme has cost £4.1 billion, and the move is intended to cut about £2 billion in operating costs from future defence budgets.
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