14 April 2009

BAe Hawk Still Lead The Pack

13 Februari 1997

Hawk Mk-127 of the RAAF (photo : AirScene)

The British Aerospace Hawk has been dominating the market of fast jet trainers for years. Just recently it added another successful sale: At the end of last year, Australia's Minister of Defence, Ian McLachlan, announced that the Royal Australian Air Force, in its lead-in fighter trainer competition, decided on the British Aerospace product as being the "preferred tenderer". The tough selection process had lasted three years. In the end phase, the McDonnell Douglas T-45 Goshawk and Aermacchi MB 339FD were left in the race along with the BAe Hawk.

While there are still details to be worked out and the contract still needs to be signed, British Aerospace plans to begin the production of the first Hawks in Australia this year. The first aircraft could then be delivered beginning mid-1999. The goal is to have a squadron with a dozen jets operational by January 2000.

The RAAF supposedly has a need for 30 to 40 aircraft. Except of 12 jets which are directly supplied by BAe, the aircraft will be final assembled at the Hunter Aerospace plant in Newcastle. Newcastle airport is bordering to the RAAF basis Williamtown in New South Wales where most of the Hawks will be stationed.

Hawker de Havilland, Qantas, and Airflite are part of the Australian Hawk industry team. BAe will set up a management organization in Australia since it looks like the maintenance of the aircraft will be put into the responsibility of civil companies for their entire planned lifespan of 25 years.

The Hawks are adapted to the special requirements of the Australian customer. The cockpits are going to be equipped with color multifunction displays to facilitate the transition to the F/A-18 and F-111. Furthermore, additional modes will be available on the HUD.

BAe is suggesting an OBOGS that allows oxygen generation on board the aircraft. The inertial system is to be aided by a GPS. An air refueling probe can also be mounted if needed.

The lead-in fighter trainer is based on the Hawk 100, the current two-seat top model. An aerodynamic prototype first flew in October of 1987 and the first pre-production aircraft followed in February of 1992.

The Hawk 100 is designed for weapons training and light attack operations. The trainer is powered by a more powerful Adour Mk.871 turbofan and its so called "combat wing" improves the maneuverability between Mach 0.3 and 0.7.

The integration of a Mil-Std.-1553B data bus allows a flexible systems suit. An inertial system and a modern weapons computer are standard equipment. The extended nose section can suit a FLIR as well as laser distance measurement equipment as an option. The crew has a color display with 27 modes and a FLIR display available.

BAe Hawk of the Royal Australia Air Force (photo : Milavia)

The aircraft has seven external stations available, including the possibility to carry Sidewinder or similar air-to-air weapons on the wing tip stations. Up to five 450-kilogram bombs can be carried. BAe claims a 230 km radius for close air support missions. With a reduced bomb load and two external tanks, targets in a distance of up to 640 km can be attacked.

So far, British Aerospace logged 40 orders for the Hawk 100 series. The Hawk Mk.60 is still being offered for countries that can omit the improved operational capabilities and are only looking for an efficient trainer.

The Hawk 200 is available at the top of the Hawk product line. This variant represents a light single-seat fighter which is positioned below BAe's fighter line of JAS 39 Gripen and Eurofighter 2000. Being equipped with a Northrop Grumman APG-66H radar, the Hawk 200 can accomplish the following typical tasks:

- Air defence: with four missiles and a gun pod, station times of two hours in a distance of 185 kilometers of base are possible;
- Close air support with four 450 kg bombs, two Sidewinders and gun;
- Air-to-ground missions with four 250 kg bombs and gun;
- Maritime attack operations with two rocket pods (mission radius 580 km);
- Reconnaissance (mission radius 900 km).

With the exception of the nose section, the Hawk 200 is almost identical to the Hawk 100, including the combat wing. A radar warning receiver in the vertical stabilizer and a chaff and flare dispenser in the tail are part of the self-defence system.

Up to this point, BAe has sold 46 Hawk 200s. Including the T-45 Goshawks for the US Navy, the company has currently orders for 669 aircraft in its books.

BAe is optimistic about acquiring further orders in the future. The South African Air Force is looking for a new trainer. Other countries that are interested in the Hawk include Brunei and India.

The Hawk 100 was also selected for the NFTC (NATO Flying Training in Canada), a program that was initiated by Bombardier. The company plans to set up training operations at Moose Jaw and Cold Lake with the support of the Canadian government. Allegedly, this program is to offer pilot training to other NATO countries which don't have to invest in their own aircraft but must only pay the, supposedly cheaper, price for the actually trained pilots.

The project requires a guarantee for 50 training slots over a period of 20 years to be economically feasible. In that case, up to 27 Embraer Super Tucanos and 26 Hawks would be procured.

Sumber : Flug Revue

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