RAAF Hawk Mk-127 LIFT (photo : Aus DoD)
Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare announced the signing of a multi-million dollar contract to commence operations for the upgrade of the Hawk Lead-In-Fighter.
“The $25 million contract with BAE Systems in the United Kingdom (UK) signals the commencement of upgrade activities on the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) fast jet training capability, otherwise known as the Hawk,” Mr Smith said.
“BAE Systems UK is the manufacturer of the original Hawk aircraft and developed a later version of the aircraft for the UK Ministry of Defence, on which the upgrade is to be based.”
Both BAE Systems UK and Australia have been working closely with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to define the scope of the upgrade, leveraging off previous Hawk development programs.
Australian industry will play a facilitation role in the early stages of the upgrade, ensuring compatibility with the current Lead-In Fighter training capability and will be responsible for construction of simulator facilities, modification of the Hawk Fleet, and in-service support of equipment.
Mr Clare said upgrading the countries fast jet training system would ensure its effectiveness into the next decade and ensure a suitable foundation for progression onto the F/A-18 Classic and Super Hornets and the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) as it is introduced into service.
The Hawk is the training aircraft for the ADF’s fast jet pilots before they move on to the Classic Hornet or Super Hornet and the future Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
The Hawk plays an important role in training Australian fighter pilots. It can carry a wide range of munitions similar to those carried by the Hornet aircraft. The aircraft has a secondary role of providing training support to Navy, Army and Air Force operational capabilities.