The BAE Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, jet-powered advanced trainer aircraft. It was first flown at Dunsfold, Surrey, in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk, and subsequently produced by its successor companies, British Aerospace and BAE Systems, respectively. It has been used in a training capacity and as a low-cost combat aircraft.
Operators of the Hawk include the Royal Air Force (notably the Red Arrows display team) and a considerable number of foreign military operators. The Hawk is still in production in the UK and under licence in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with over 900 Hawks sold to 18 operators around the world.
In 1964, the Royal Air Force specified a requirement (Air Staff Target, AST, 362) for a new fast jet trainer to replace the Folland Gnat. The SEPECAT Jaguar was originally intended for this role, but it was soon realised that it would be too complex an aircraft for fast jet training and only a small number of two-seat versions were purchased. Accordingly, in 1968, Hawker Siddeley Aviation (HSA) began studies for a simpler aircraft, initially as special project (SP) 117. The design team was led by Ralph Hooper.
This project was funded by the company as a private venture, in anticipation of possible RAF interest. The design was conceived of as having tandem seating and a combat capability in addition to training, as it was felt the latter would improve export sales potential. By the end of the year HSA had submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Defence based on the design concept, and in early 1970 the RAF issued Air Staff Target (AST) 397 which formalised the requirement for new trainers of this type. The RAF selected the HS.1182 for their requirement on 1st October 1971 and the principal contract, for 175 aircraft, was signed in March 1972.
The prototype aircraft XX154 first flew on 21st August 1974 from Dunsfold piloted by Duncan Simpson, Chief Test Pilot of HSA (Kingston), reaching 20,000 ft in a flight lasting 53 minutes. All development aircraft were built on production jigs; the program remained on time and to budget throughout. The Hawk T1 entered RAF service in late 1976. The first export Hawk 50 flew on 17th May 1976. This variant had been specifically designed for the dual role of lightweight fighter and advanced trainer; it had a greater weapons capacity than the T.1.
More variants of the Hawk followed, and common improvements to the base design typically included increased range, more powerful engines, redesigned wing and undercarriage, the addition of radar and forward-looking infrared, GPS navigation, and night-vision compatibility. Later models were manufactured with a great variety in terms of avionics fittings and system compatibility to suit the individual customer nation; cockpit functionality was often rearranged and programmed to be common to an operator’s main fighter fleet to increase the Hawk’s training value.
In 1981, a derivative of the Hawk was selected by the United States Navy as their new trainer aircraft. Designated the McDonnell Douglas T-45 Goshawk, the design was adapted to naval service and strengthened to withstand operating directly from the decks of carriers, in addition to typical land-based duties. This T-45 entered service in 1994; initial aircraft had analogue cockpits, while later deliveries featured a digital glass cockpit. All airframes were planned to undergo avionics upgrades to a common standard.
A major competitor to the Hawk for export sales has been the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet; aviation expert John W. R. Taylor commented: “What Europe must avoid is the kind of wasteful competition that has the Hawker Siddeley Hawk and Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jet battling against each other in the world market.” By early 1998, a total of 734 Hawks had been sold, more than 550 of which had been to export customers. Military customers often procured the Hawk as a replacement for older aircraft such as the BAC Strikemaster, Hawker Hunter, and Douglas A-4 Skyhawk.
During the 1980s and 1990s, British Aerospace, the successor company to Hawker Siddeley, was trying to gain export sales of the variable-wing Panavia Tornado strike aircraft; however, countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, which had shown initial interest in the Tornado, concluded that the Hawk is a more suitable and preferable aircraft for their requirements. Malaysia and Oman cancelled their arranged Tornado orders in the early 1990s, both choosing to procure the Hawk, instead. Aviation authors Norman Polmar and Dana Bell stated of the Hawk: “Of the many similar designs competing for a share of the world market, the Hawk has been without equal in performance as well as sales”.
On 22nd December 2004, the Ministry of Defence awarded a contract to BAE Systems to develop an advanced model of the Hawk for the RAF and Royal Navy. The Hawk Mk. 128, otherwise designated as Hawk T2, replaces conventional instrumentation with a glass cockpit, to better resemble modern fighter aircraft such as the new mainstay of the RAF, the Eurofighter Typhoon. In October 2006, a GB£450 million contract was signed for the production of 28 Hawk 128s. The aircraft’s maiden flight occurred on 27th July 2005 from BAE Systems’ Warton Aerodrome.
According to BAE Systems, as of July 2012, they have sold nearly 1000 Hawks so far, with sales continuing to date. In July 2012, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith confirmed that Australia’s fleet of Hawk Mk 127s would be upgraded to a similar configuration to the RAF’s Hawk T2 as part of a major mid-life upgrade. The Hawk T2 was considered to be a competitor for the United States Air Force’s T-X program to acquire a new trainer fleet, but in February 2015, Northrop Grumman determined the Hawk’s shortfalls made it ill-suited for the program requirements and dropped it as their offering.
In May 2015, Indian aerospace manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) revealed that it was examining the prospects of performing its own Hawk upgrades, including armed light attack variants. The Indian Air Force, which were in the process of receiving trainer Hawks built under licence by HAL, were reportedly interested in the upgrade proposals, which would also include avionics and cockpit modifications; HAL has stated that it also aims to export combat Hawks to other countries in partnership with BAE. Missile developer and manufacturer MBDA may provide their ASRAAM and Brimstone missiles to arm the new attack type.
The Hawk is an advanced trainer with a two-man tandem cockpit, a low-mounted cantilever wing and is powered by a single turbofan engine. Unlike many of the previous trainers in RAF service, the Hawk was specifically designed for training. Hawker had developed the aircraft to have a high level of serviceability, as well as lower purchasing and operating costs than previous trainers like the Jet Provost. The Hawk has been praised by pilots for its agility, in particular its roll and turn handling.
The design of the fuselage included a height differential between the two seats of the cockpit; this provided generous levels of visibility for the instructor in the rear seat. Each cockpit is fitted with a Martin-Baker Mk 10B zero-zero rocket-assisted ejection seat. Air is fed to the aircraft’s rear-mounted Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour engine via intakes on each of the forward wing roots. During the aircraft’s development, Hawker had worked closely with Rolls-Royce to reduce the engine’s fuel consumption and to ensure a high level of reliability.
Even within the development stages, a Hawk variant was intended to also serve as a single-seat ground-attack fighter; both the trainer and fighter models were developed with the export market in mind. On single seat models, the forward cockpit area which normally houses a pilot is replaced by an electronics bay for avionics and onboard systems, including a fire control computer, multi-mode radar, laser rangefinder and forward-looking infrared (FLIR). Some export customers, such as Malaysia, have extensive modifications to their aircraft, including the addition of wingtip hardpoint stations and a fittable inflight refuelling probe.
The Hawk was designed to be manoeuvrable and can reach Mach 0.88 in level flight and Mach 1.15 in a dive, thus allowing trainees to experience transonic flight before advancing to a supersonic trainer. The airframe is very durable and strong, stressed for +9 g; the normal limit in RAF service is +7.5/-4 g. A dual hydraulic system supplies power to operate systems such as the aircraft’s flaps, airbrakes and landing gear, together with the flight controls. A ram air turbine is fitted in front of the single tail fin to provide backup hydraulic power for the flight controls in the event of an engine failure; additionally, a gas turbine auxiliary power unit is housed directly above the engine.
The Hawk is designed to carry a centreline gun pod, such as the 30 mm ADEN cannon, two under-wing pylons, and up to four hardpoints for fitting armaments and equipment. In RAF service, Hawks have been equipped to operate the Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. In the early 1990s, British Aerospace investigated the possibility of arming the Hawk with the Sea Eagle anti-ship missile for export customers. In 2016, BAE Systems was developing so-called ‘Advanced Hawk’ with a new wing using leading-edge slats, and potentially additional sensors and weapons, a head-mounted display, and a single large-screen display in the forward cockpit.
The Hawk entered RAF service in April 1976, replacing the Folland Gnat and Hawker Hunter for advanced training and weapons training. The Hawk T1 was the original version used by the RAF, deliveries commencing in November 1976. The most famous users of the Hawk are the Red Arrows aerobatic team, who adopted the plane in 1979.
From 1983 to 1986, some Hawks were equipped as short-range interceptor aircraft. 88 T1s were modified to carry two AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles in addition to a 30 mm ADEN cannon gun pod; these aircraft were redesignated as Hawk T1A. In a wartime scenario, they would have worked in collaboration with the RAF’s Tornado F3 interceptors, which would use their Foxhunter search radars and more sophisticated navigation systems to vector the Hawks against enemy targets.
The Hawk subsequently replaced the English Electric Canberra for target towing duties. The Royal Navy acquired a dozen Hawk T1/1As from the RAF; these are typically operated in a support role, often to conduct simulated combat training onboard ships.
During the 1990s and 2000s, 80 Hawk T1/1A aircraft were upgraded under the Fuselage Replacement Programme (FRP) to extend their operational lifespan; sections of the centre and rear fuselage sections were entirely replaced. In 2009, the RAF began receiving the first Hawk T2, in the long term, T2 aircraft will replace the ageing T1s. Training operations on the Hawk T2 began in April 2012.
In August 2011, a Red Arrows pilot was killed when his Hawk T1 crashed following a display at the Bournemouth Air Festival, the inquest found “G-force impairment” may have caused the pilot to lose control; the Hawk T1 fleet was grounded as a precautionary measure and returned to flight status a few days later. In November 2011, the Red Arrows suffered another pilot fatality when the Martin-Baker Mk.10 ejection seat fitted to the Hawk T1 activated while the aircraft was stationary; the veteran combat pilot died on ground impact when the ejector seat parachute also failed to deploy. This resulted in the UK Ministry of Defence implementing a ban on non-essential flying in aircraft fitted with ejector seats similar to those fitted in the Hawk T1 after the death. The ban was lifted for Tornado attack jets but remained on Hawk T1, Hawk T2 and Tucano flights while the RAF reviewed evidence on those aircraft. In October 2017, the RAF and Royal Navy operated 75 Hawk T1 and 28 Hawk T2. According to the Ministry of Defence, the planned out-of-service date for the Hawk T1 is 2030, with the aircraft selected to meet the requirements of the Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) programme beginning to replace the Hawk from 2027.
In January 1978, Britain and Finland announced a deal to in which the Finnish Air Force was to receive 50 Hawk Mk. 51s in 1980; these aircraft were built in Finland under licence by Valtion lentokonetehdas. The Finnish Air Force was limited to 60 first-line fighter aircraft by the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947; by acquiring Hawks, which counted as trainers rather than fighters, capacity could be increased while continuing treaty compliance. These conditions were nullified during the 1990s by the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Seven additional Mk. 51As were delivered in 1993–94 to make up for losses. In June 2007, Finland arranged to purchase 18 used Hawk Mk. 66s from the Swiss Air Force for 41 million euros; they were delivered in 2009–2010. Finnish Hawks have reportedly been armed with Russian Molniya R-60/AA-8 as well as with AIM-9M air-to-air missiles. The Finnish Air Force aerobatics team, the Midnight Hawks, also uses the aircraft.
Due to rising levels of metal fatigue, a major structural reinforcement program was carried out to extend the operational life of Finland’s Hawks during the 1990s. Due to lifespan limitations, 41 out of 67 in Finland’s total Hawk fleet were taken out of service between 2012–2016; the remaining aircraft are younger and thus are expected to be flying into the 2030s. In 2011, Finnish Mk. 51s and Mk. 66s underwent a series of upgrades performed by Patria, these included the adoption of a new Cockpit 4000 glass cockpit, new software, and other life-extending modifications. This upgrade program was completed in 2013.
On 23rd February 2008, the Hawk Mk. 132 formally entered service with the Indian Air Force (IAF), after one of the most protracted procurements in India’s history, two decades having elapsed between the initial interest and the contract signing on 26th March 2004. The IAF received 24 aircraft directly from BAE Systems with deliveries beginning in November 2007, and further 42 Hawks assembled by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited between 2008 and 2011. In February 2008, India planned to order 57 more Hawks, with 40 going to the Indian Air Force and the remaining 17 to the Indian Navy.
In July 2010, it was announced that the IAF and the Navy would receive the additional 57 aircraft. The additional aircraft will be all built in India by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), continuing to work under licence from BAE. On 10th February 2011, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and GE Aviation signed a contract under which GE Aviation will conduct the next 30 years of maintenance on the Hawk fleet. In 2011, the IAF was reportedly unhappy with the provision of spare components; In December 2011, BAE received a contract to provide India with spares and ground support.
The first IAF Hawk AJT crashed on 29th April 2008 at 406 Air Force Station Bidar, Karnataka. On 3rd June 2015, another Hawk AJT aircraft crashed near Baharagora, close to the West Bengal – Odisha border.
The Hawk fleet is based at IAF’s Bidar Air Force Station in north Karnataka, about 700 km from Bangalore. As of 2015, a total of 123 aircraft were on order by the Indian Air Force and 17 by the Indian Navy. An additional order of 20 aircraft is under negotiation.
In April 1978, Indonesia, seeking to increase its aerial capabilities, placed the first of multiple orders for the Hawk. The Indonesian Air Force received more than 40 Hawks in the 1980s and 1990s; In June 1991, BAe and Indonesian Aerospace (IPTN) signed a major agreement for collaborative production of the Hawk, and more orders of the Hawk were anticipated. Further Hawk exports were eventually blocked due to concerns over Indonesian human rights, particularly in East Timor. During the 1990s protests erupted across England over arming Indonesia and pressure increased after the mass-murder of the Balibo Five journalists and Roger East came to light and allegations of the use of Hawks during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor.
The Hawks have been the backbone of Indonesian Air Force, supplementing more advanced and expensive aircraft such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon. In September 2013, the Indonesian Air Force began receiving the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle, which has been reported as having been set to eventually replace the Hawk in service. In February 2016, it was announced that Indonesia’s Hawk fleet was set to receive a new radar warning receiver self-defense system, aiding the type’s use in light attack operations.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force has 18 Hawk aircraft, consisting of 4 Hawk 108 export versions as training aircraft and 14 Hawk 208 as combat aircraft. On 5th March 2013, during the 2013 Lahad Datu standoff, five Hawk 208 together with three American-made Boeing F/A-18D Hornets were employed in airstrikes on hideouts of the terrorist group Royal Security Forces of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo in Lahad Datu, Sabah ahead of the ground assault by joint forces of the Malaysian Army and Royal Malaysian Police.
Saudi Arabia acquired the Hawk under the Al-Yamamah arms deal with Britain, with a total of 50 Hawk Mk. 65/65As ordered in contracts placed in 1985 and 1994 respectively. In August 2012, a deal for 22 Hawk ‘Advanced Jet Trainers’ worth approximately $800 million was announced. The AJTs would replace older models of Hawks in the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) inventory. The Hawk is flown by the RSAF demonstration team. In February 2016 it emerged that Saudi Arabia had doubled the number of Hawk AJT aircraft it had ordered from BAE Systems, with an order for a further 22. This was revealed in the company’s preliminary annual report for 2015; “We reached agreement with the Saudi customer for the provision of a further 22 Hawk AJT aircraft, associated ground equipment, and training aids for the RSAF which form part of an enhancement to the Kingdom’s training capacity.” Once in service, the Hawk AJTs will complete the replacement of the earlier Mk 65 and Mk 65A platforms.
aIn the 1980s, 12 BAE Hawk T.Mk. 60/60As were purchased for the Air Force of Zimbabwe; the purchase was supported by a GB£35 million loan from the UK to Zimbabwe. The Hawk deal also included the transfer of a number of used Hawker Hunters. In July 1982, at least one Hawk was destroyed on the ground and three more heavily damaged during a dissident attack on Thornhill air base, Gweru.
Zimbabwe’s Hawks were used during the Second Congo War. Numerous airstrikes were conducted in support of the Congolese Army against Rwandan, Ugandan and rebel forces in 1998–2000. In 2000, the controversy over Zimbabwe’s military intervention in the Congo and poor human rights record led to Britain imposing a total arms embargo on the nation, including spare parts for the Hawk. Due to the embargo, Zimbabwe has purchased six Chinese Hongdu K-8s as a substitute.
During the 1980s, a prospective sale of 63 Hawk trainers to Iraq was considered by the British government. While the proposal had its proponents, it was controversial as in a ground-attack capacity Iraq might have employed the Hawk against neighbouring Iran and to oppress Iraq’s own Kurdish population; there was also concern that the Hawk could be potentially armed with chemical weapons. After considerable deliberation the sale was blocked. In 2010, Iraq entered talks with BAE for an order of up to 21 Hawks.
In 1993, talks between BAe and South Africa’s Denel Aviation began regarding a replacement for the South African Air Force (SAAF)’s ageing Atlas Impala fleet. By 2004, Denel had begun construction of Hawks under licence from BAe; components for other customers have also been produced by Denel. On 13th January 2005, the first locally assembled Hawk conducted its first flight; it belonged to a batch of 24 trainers ordered by the SAAF.
BAE Systems Hawks available from Flying Tigers.
Flying Tigers has some great BAE Systems Hawks available in both 1/72nd and 1/48th scales. Please click on the image and links below to go straight to the mode page to order yours.
New Herpa model announcements .
The following new models have just been announced by Herpa and are available to pre-order from Flying Tigers. Please click on the images or links below to go straight to the model of your choice or CLICK HERE to see the full range of 1/72nd scale diecast offer from Herpa. CLICK HERE to see the full range of 1/200th scale Military Herpa models.
New InFlight Special announcements.
Inflight have just announced five special edition models. Please click on the model of your choice or CLICK HERE to see them all.
These models will be presented in a special presentation boxes and come complete with a numbered LIMITED EDITION collectors card. With high attention to detail these releases will be limited to 500 models worldwide.
Vehicle and Diorama Sale… Half marked sale prices !
Don’t miss out ! All vehicles and diorama models in the Sale Military Vehicles Section are half the marked sale prices for this bank holiday weekend.
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Offer applies to only to models appearing in the Sale Military Vehicles Section , please click on the links here or on the image below to go straight to this Sale offer.
Please order in the normal way and your BANK HOLIDAY REDUCED PRICE will be applied to your order when your models are dispatched and your credit card or PayPal payments will be adjusted at the time of dispatch, not at the time of order.
This offer is subject to availability of stock.
This offer starts today 24th August 2018 and finishes at 12.00 mid-day BST on Tuesday 28th August 2018.
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