BAE Systems Australia has inducted the final aircraft into its Williamtown maintenance facility ahead of its upgrade that will make Royal Australian Air Force’s Hawk Mk127 fleet among the most advanced of its type in the world.
The project to upgrade the 33 aircraft fleet began in 2016. The upgrade of this last aircraft in 2019 will complete the strategically important Lead-In Fighter Capability Assurance Program.
The Australian Hawk Mk127 fleet has been an integral part of the fast jet training system since 2001, enabling the RAAF to graduate highly trained aircrew for life in the cockpits of combat aircraft including F/A-18 A/B Classic Hornets, F/A-18F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers.
With this highly capable upgraded Hawk aircraft, the RAAF has a world-class Lead-In Fighter that is ready to deliver high calibre pilots for the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter. The RAAF has been conducting new introductory fighter courses with the upgraded Hawks already in service.
Each upgraded Hawk aircraft provides new training capabilities including simulated radar, electronic warfare, digital mapping, ground proximity warning system and traffic collision avoidance. The upgrade also includes the replacement of two legacy synthetic training devices with three full mission simulators provided by CAE.
The modified aircraft provides the RAAF with a Lead-In Fighter that is comparable to the Royal Air Force (UK) Hawk T2 Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT).
BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive, Gabby Costigan said: “The upgraded BAE Systems Hawk aircraft provides the RAAF with a similar capability as the most modern Hawk aircraft around the world.
“It’s been a bench mark program in terms of how BAE Systems Australia and UK engineering teams, together with industry partners and RAAF technicians, have collaborated to deliver this enhanced capability ahead of schedule.
“It’s also testament to all involved that the upgrade program has been delivered without adversely impacting the training of the RAAF’s fast jet aircrew which is a significant achievement.”