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Upgraded Hawks take to the sky

Upgraded Hawks take to the sky
Williamtown, NSW: The first two Hawk Mk127 aircraft upgraded by BAE Systems for the Royal Australian Air Force have taken to the sky.

BAE Systems Chief Executive, David Allott said: “The upgrade of the Australian Hawk fleet will ensure its effectiveness into the next decade.

“Further, it will provide a solid foundation for the progression of aircrew onto the F/A-18 Classic and Super Hornets and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter when it is introduced into service.”

The contract was awarded to BAE Systems in 2013 with the modification being carried out by BAE Systems Australia at its Fast Jet facility at Williamtown, NSW.

Modification of the two Hawk aircraft began in March 2014. The upgrade of both aircraft including full ground testing was completed last year, leading to a developmental flight clearance earlier this year.

The Joint Trials Team of BAE Systems UK and RAAF test pilots will perform development and acceptance trials putting the aircraft through their paces. This has already commenced and will continue through the coming months.

The upgrade of the Australian Hawk fleet will deliver an enhanced training capability and also encompass the supply of three Full Mission Simulators, RAAF aircrew / ground-crew training and support and will eventually see all 33 of the RAAF's Hawk Lead-in Fighter Trainers modified to an almost identical standard to the RAF’s latest advanced jet trainer, the Hawk Mk128.

Work on the remainder of the fleet is expected to begin in 2016.