The U.K. may keep its Nimrod R1 signals intelligence aircraft in service a bit longer.
The aircraft were due to retire this month, leaving the U.K. with a major airborne signint gap until the replacement RC-135 Rivet Joints are fielded in late 2013.
But the BBC now reports that the Nimrod R1s may be kept around, not to bridge the entire gap, but for three more months.
In the report, here, BBC suggests the situation in Libya is one of the reasons for the stay of execution, with the fleet to remain in service until at least June. The official defense ministry line, for now, is that the end-of-month retirement is still on.
A service extension may be good news for the operational side, but it could become a budgeting headache for for the RAF since the defense ministry is already scrambling to come up with additional cuts to balance its books.