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Hawk - British Aerospace

The British Aerospace Hawk [not to be confused with the unrelated Sea Hawk of the early 1960s] is a light-attack and trainer similar to the Alpha Jet, M.B.326, AMX, F-5 Freedom Fighter. Through a continuing update and modernization program, the Hawk is still known as one of the world's best advanced trainers and light-attack aircraft. US Navy and USMC train pilots with a T-45 Goshawk derivative of the basic BAe Hawk. Other user countries include Brunei, Finland, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and United Arab Emirates.

The Hawk is an all-metal, low-wing, tandem seat aircraft of conventional design. With a crew of two, if features low-mounted, swept-back wings that are tapered with curved tips. The wing has a moderate sweep with 2º dihedral and trailing edge slotted flaps. A one-piece all-moving tailplane is also swept back with 10º dihedral. The top line of the fuselage curves up from the pointed nose to incorporate the long clear cockpit canopy then slopes down to the jetpipe, giving a humped appearance, with slightly-swept vertical and horizontal tail surfaces. The maximum level speed of the Hawk is over 1000 km/h and the aircraft can attain supersonic speed (M1.2) in a dive.

The fuselage comprises three main parts. The front fuselage accommodates two equipment bays and a pressurised cabin containing two tandem cockpits. The center fuselage contains the engine, a fuselage fuel tank, a gas turbine starting system and a ram air turbine; the latter providing emergency hydraulic power should the two normal hydraulic systems fail. The rear fuselage houses the jet pipe bay and an airbrake hinged to its under surface. One turbofan engine is located inside the body, with semicircular air intakes alongside the body forward of the wing roots and a single exhaust. The Hawk is powered by a Rolls- Royce Turbomeca Adour 151 turbofan engine, which is an un-reheated version of the engine powering the Jaguar GR3 aircraft.

The Royal Air Force bought 175 Hawk Mk T1 aircraft in the late 70's. It is an excellent trainer. It has improved all-round vision and an efficient airframe. It should be known that it is the first advanced jet trainer ever to enter Royal Air Force service which had not been an adaptation of a fighter aircraft. It was also put to immediate use without a service trials unit being formed, as has happened in the past. The Hawk first entered service with the RAF in 1976, both as an advanced flying-training aircraft and a weapons-training aircraft. The Hawk T1 version was used at RAF Valley for fast-jet pilot advanced flying training with No 208(R) Squadron, and at RAF Scampton by the RAF Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows. RAF Hawks were used in advanced jet and weapons training.

The contract for the development and production of the HS1182 — now known as the Hawk — which was to be the new jet trainer for the RAF, was placed with Hawker Siddeley Aviation early in 1972. Contracts for development and initial production of the Adour engine which would power the aircraft were placed with Rolls-Royce Ltd. in 1971. In 1976 the Hawk was introduced into service to replace the Gnat, and the Hunter as a fast jet training aircraft for the RAF, so that fast jet training in the Royal Air Force would be planned around two aircraft, the Jet Provost and the Hawk.

The first of the Hawks ordered for the Royal Air Force was delivered in October 1976. The program to replace the Gnat with the Hawk for RAF fast jet training was then under way and planned to be completed in 1979. The program to replace the Hunter with the Hawk for RAF weapons training would start in 1977 and was planned to be completed towards the end of 1980. The first RAF students to receive full fast jet/weapon training in the Hawk were due to graduate towards the end of 1978.

The Royal Air Force Central Flying School had always been responsible for pure flying standards in the RAF, and these standards, which are checked annually by the examining wing, have always been extremely high. As an economy measure, by 1977 the CFS had to share its airfield with three other non-associated flying units, and it was difficult for it to carry out some of its corporate tasks in competition with other units, leading to a lessening of efficiency and cost effectiveness. Due to the economies taken, there were then only two basic flying training schools and one advanced school for fast jets. Even at full capacity these schools could not produce enough pilots to maintain the flow into the front line because of the high failure rate in training. So the Service was entering a situation where the front line will not be fully manned because of the outflow from squadrons caused by normal rotation, wastage, promotion and so on.

Some saw an urgent need for the opening of another basic flying school and, possibly, another advanced school. That would allow an adequate number of pilots to be trained to serve the aircraft, and in addition, allow room for expansion; it would allow the training of foreign pilots, with political and financial advantages; and it would prepare for the start of the Tornado programme. It seemed false economy to have expensive front line aircraft and yet have an inadequate number of pilots to man them.

A further waste of resources was seen by some with the Hawk. Only a third of those aircraft were fitted for weapons training, while if they were all equipped they could be rotated between flying and weapons schools and there would be a lessening in fatigue life. Therefore, the RAF had a lot of expensive equipment, such as the Hawks, and yet could not get the best use out of it for the sake of the comparatively small extra cost of fitting them all for weapons training.

In 1980 the UK announced plans for arming about 90 Hawks with air-to-air missiles for their war role. In those cases, the Hawks would be flown by instructor pilots. Doing that would denude the tactical weapons unit at Brawdy and shortly at Chivenor of key personnel who would be essential to maintain the output of newly-trained pilots in time of emergency or war. The the Minister of State said 8 May 1980: "Of course, those men possess great skill; they have the experience which is essential to wartime operations … I would say there is no real parallel with the United States Air National Guard, since in the event of war there would be no time to give additional intensive training to part-time pilots of the kind which would be essential if they were to fight and survive in a NATO war."

In the RAF training program, the Hawk T1 is the first jet aircraft that a student pilot flies. An advanced, and very successful trainer, Hawk is used to teach operational tactics, air-to-air and air-to-ground firing, air combat and low-level operating procedures.

To supplement the Tornado F3 force, a number of Hawk T1A advanced trainers had an additional task as point defence fighters. In this role, the aircraft carry two Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and a 30mm Aden cannon. The RAF's Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, operate the Hawk T1A, and in time of war or crisis would also carry out the point defence fighter role.

While the Hawk T1 was used by the RAF solely in the advanced flying-training role, the Hawk T1A is equipped to an operational standard and is capable of undertaking a number of war roles. The T1A has two under-wing pylons cleared to carry Sidewinder AIM-9L air-to-air missiles, and can carry a 30mm Aden cannon in a pod underneath the fuselage centre-line. The cannon can be fired at the same time as any of the pylon-mounted weapons are selected for release or firing. Aiming facilities for the aircraft’s attack modes are provided by an integrated strike and interception system, while a Vinten video recording system is used to record the weapon sighting.

The next generation Hawk aircraft, the Hawk T2, entered RAF service in 2008 as a replacement for some of the current Hawk T1s. The Hawk T2 introduced student pilots to the digital cockpit environment they will experience in front-line operational service and provided a seamless transition between basic flying training, and operational conversion training onto advanced fighter aircraft such as the Typhoon F2 and the Joint Combat Aircraft.

The Hawk T TMk2 is a fully aerobatic, low wing, transonic, tandem 2-seat training aircraft with mission avionics that will be suitable representative of front-line aircraft. The Hawk T TMk2 is used to train selected personnel to meet the Fast Jet Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) input standards in order to contribute to the timely and sustainable delivery of capability.

The Hawk has tandem seats, with full controls available in the front and rear cockpit. Duplication of essential controls with appropriate override facilities is provided in the rear cockpit, for example store jettison, landing gear and flaps. The aircraft’s ‘glass cockpit’ avionics suite provides a realistic advanced fast jet training platform, which, as part of the UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS), meets current and future OCU input standards. It allows trainees to be immersed in the more complex tactical environments by ‘downloading’ training from the OCUs.

The Hawk T TMk2 has an extended nose for additional avionics and features a number of major changes under the skin. With the recent introduction into RAF service of a modern digital cockpit aircraft, the training potential offered by the Hawk T TMkI is no longer adequate to meet the pilot training need; gone are the traditional cockpit dials and switches. In their place are three, full color, multi-function displays similar to those used by modern fighters such as Typhoon. These are used to display navigation, weapon and systems information. The aircraft's head-up display (HUD) has been updated to use symbols and data used in more current combat aircraft. Other changes include 'Hands-On-Throttle-And-Stick' (HOTAS) controls which are fully representative of front line combat aircraft types, and twin mission computers hosting simulations of a wide range of sensor and weapon systems as well as a full featured IN/GPS navigation system with moving map display.

The Hawk T TMk2 has a data link which gives the pilot synthetic radar for intercept training. The aircraft also has a sensor simulation capability to allow realistic Electronic Warfare (EW) training against Surface to Air Missile (SAM) systems. Outside of the cockpit, the Hawk T TMk2 has the new 7 station wing and will be fitted with the updated 6,500lbs static thrust Rolls Royce/Turbomeca Adour Mk.951 turbofan with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC).

Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT)

In mid-2004 the Government of India approved the induction of 66 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) aircraft from M/s BAE Systems Limited (BAeS), United Kingdom, into the Indian Air Force (IAF). Twenty-four aircraft would be supplied by BAeS in flyaway conditions and 42 would be manufactured in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under licence. The Contracts and Licence Agreement were signed in this regard with BAes, and not with the Royal Air Force. Till the new aircraft are available for the IAF, as an interim measure, 75 IAF pilots would be trained in UK in terms of the contract.

The delivery of twenty-four aircraft was expected to commence from September, 2007 and would be completed by February 2008. The delivery of fortytwo aircraft by HAL is expected to commence from March 2008 and would be completed by May 2010.

BAeS has neither asked for 50 million US dollar for "man-hour design work", nor have they threatened that the deal would be scrapped or that they would not stick to the committed price and timing.

The Indian Government concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of the United Kingdom for the smooth implementation of the project.

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Page last modified: 11-09-2013 19:09:16 ZULU