The first all Australian-built Hawk, numbered A27-10, rolled out of BAE Systems’ Williamtown hangar for its maiden test flight on 12 May 2000.
Coincidentally, the same aircraft returned to the hangar today for a scheduled maintenance check, exactly ten years after it first took to the skies.
The Hawk LIF project was established to deliver and support a state-of-the-art fast jet training capability for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), replacing the Macchi jet trainer fleet which was retired in 2000.
The contract combined the acquisition of 33 advanced jet trainers with a 25-year life-of-type deeper maintenance support service by BAE Systems.
The RAAF procured 33 Hawks, 21 of which were assembled in Australia and 12 in the United Kingdom at BAE Systems’ facilities at Brough and Warton.
Currently, 18 aircraft are operational at RAAF Base Williamtown (NSW) and 15 at RAAF Base Pearce (WA) with BAE Systems providing on-site support at both airfields.
The contract has created more than 500 defence and aerospace jobs.
At BAE Systems’ Williamtown facility alone, approximately 185 employees currently work on the Hawk LIF contract.
“This is a proud day for our company and our employees,” said Gerry Mann, General Manager Fast Jet Support for the Aerospace Business Unit.
“We have delivered and maintained a quality product that meets our customer’s primary goal of preparing its young fast jet pilots to operate the next generation of fighter aircraft.”
“We are extremely proud of the professional, experienced and capable team who work across several continents to support Hawk. The success of this project is due to them”
“We look forward to continuing our association with this fine aircraft and the RAAF for the next decade and beyond,” he said.