Since 1980, the Finnish Air Force has used Hawk aircraft to train the very best pilots for its front line squadrons and the Midnight Hawks Aerial Display Team.
Both BAE Systems and Patria have supported the Hawks throughout their service in Finland and, as this important milestone is celebrated, both companies are continuing to look to Hawk’s future in the country to help meet the most modern pilot training demands.
The partnership has produced a number of cost-efficiencies and life-cycle improvements to Finnish Hawks in recent years. Patria’s world class support services have helped the customer reduce their costs by predicting and preventing fatigue issues, while co-operation with the Finnish Air Force has seen continual modification and upgrade work to extend the life-cycle of the aircraft until the mid-2030s.
A Finnish Hawk History
Designed and manufactured by BAE Systems, Hawk first entered Finnish service with four British-built aircraft, followed by 46 assembled by Patria in Finland. In 1993, the Finnish Air Force ordered an additional batch of seven Hawk Mk 51As.
The hard-flown Hawks were subjected to an extensive structural reinforcement program that was completed in Finland during the late 1990s by Patria. Finland further added to its Hawk fleet in 2007 by sourcing 18 low-hour Mk 66s from Switzerland which entered service after a successful modification and upgrade work by Patria, completed in 2011−2013.
Now the entire Hawk fleet, including 24 Hawks with upgraded cockpits, stands ready to continue its service to the Finnish Air Force for many years to come.
Chris Boardman, Managing Director, Military Air and Information, at BAE Systems, said: “We are proud to recognise 35 years of successful co-operation with the Finnish Air Force and Patria on the world-leading Hawk aircraft. The technology in Hawk has delivered a seamless transition from basic training to the front-line for air force pilots across the globe and it is a source of immense pride for us that Finland continues to deliver its very best fast jet pilots using Hawk.
“The upgrades carried out by Patria through the partnership have ensured the life-cycle of the Hawk fleet has been extended and it will remain the Finnish Air Force’s training platform of choice. As we mark this milestone, we look forward to working with our partners at the Finnish Air Force and Patria for many years to come.”
Jukka Holkeri, Chief Strategy Officer for Patria, said: “Our mission is to let our customers focus on their core operations as we concentrate on maintaining the utmost high operational readiness and mission capability of their aircraft fleet. Patria’s structural analysis and repair capabilities were applied with great success to a life extension programme of the Finnish Air Force Hawk Mk51 fleet.
“Maintenance is Patria's core know-how area. The Aeronautical Engineering capabilities cover a wide variety of services from damage and repair analysis to design of preventive modifications and structural health monitoring programmes.”