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BAE Test-Flies First Hawk for Bahrain (Aug 31)

The first of six Hawk 129s destined for the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF) made its first flight at Warton on Friday 26 August -- some 9 months ahead of schedule.

BT001, piloted by BAE Systems test pilot Pete Wilson, took off at 16.54 BST for a 73-minute flight over the Irish Sea.

Wilson commented: “This is the very first productionised Hawk with BAE Systems' operational flight programme integrated with the new FADEC-equipped (full authority digital engine control) Mk951 Rolls Royce Adour engine and it flies beautifully. We ran through elements of the normal production air test and avionics shakedown, and it all went very smoothly.”

The aircraft, BT001, is the first of 6 Hawk Mk129s being built by BAE Systems for the RBAF. The aircraft is an updated Mk127 standard, originally supplied to the Royal Australian Air Force.

The first two aircraft will initially go to the Technical Academy at Warton, where they will be used as part of a six-month training course for Bahraini aircraft technicians, before being ferried to Bahrain. All six aircraft will be delivered by December 2006.

BAE Systems Air Systems is manufacturing the Hawks as part of a package of equipment and training to enable the RBAF to operate an Air Training Wing which will take in raw recruits and train them as pilots before progressing to its F16 aircraft. Some recruits will stream onto a separate helicopter training programme.

BAE Systems Customer Solutions & Support’s international arm is managing a four-phase approach to creating the Air Training Wing. Unusually, the RBAF is considering adopting a two-aircraft (Firefly/Hawk) approach and will use simulation to bridge the gap, rather than the customary turbo-prop element. Only Finland and New Zealand have implemented this two-aircraft approach before.

“Although there are four separate phases to this programme, we are working closely with the customer to ensure one fully-integrated high-quality training solution, to meet his requirement of developing an indigenous aviation training capability” says programme director Mark Greenhalgh.

“Our aim is to continue assisting and supporting the customer throughout the lifetime of their flying training system.”


The four phases for the Bahrain Air Training Wing comprise the following elements:

--Phase 1: Delivery of pilot aptitude testing equipment
--Phase 2: Supply of three Slingsby Firefly T67M260 aircraft for primary and basic training, three instructor pilots, one field service representative and a support package.
--Phase 3: Provision of synthetics (full dome simulator plus avionics part task trainer) to provide the bridge from Firefly to advanced jet training. Also included are two simulator training instructors, one simulator technician, technician training, courseware and three instructor pilots.
--Phase 4: Delivery of six Hawks for advanced training plus a comprehensive two-year support package including field service representatives and technical support.

BAE Systems has major operations across five continents and customers in some 130 countries. The company employs over 90,000 people and generates annual sales of approximately £14.8 billion through its wholly owned and joint-venture operations.

BAE Systems Test-Flies First RBAF Hawk