After a stunning display over Windsor Castle the RAF display team took to the skies in the BAE Systems Hawk aircraft, performing an impressive EIIR formation marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at the Royal International Air Tattoo.
The new digital Hawk known as the Hawk T2 aircraft made up the ‘E’ element of the display led by Wing Commander Kevin Marsh. There are two distinct features of the new digital Hawk that helped deliver the historical Jubilee display.
It’s quick off the mark
Imagine jumping out of a Volkswagen Golf from the 1970’s and jumping into the latest model. You’re going to get a much quicker reaction when you put your foot on the accelerator. Exactly the same in the new Hawk. The engine is more responsive and that’s down to the digital controls that instantly push more fuel into the system to give instant power. This is known as the Full Authority Digital Engine Control system (FADEC).
Complete awareness of the skies
The Hawk is equipped with sophisticated sensor simulation kit which provides the pilot with the same information as you would expect on a radar (but at a fraction of the cost.)
Three digital displays and a Heads Up Display (HUD) provide the pilot with all the information needed to complete a mission.
For the Jubilee display, an instant view of the other 26 aircraft in the display meant complete and instant awareness of the skies.
Wing Commander Kev Marsh said “Flying the new Hawk aircraft for the display was fantastic. Leading a formation is essentially about keeping a smooth and consistent position for the other aircraft to locate and reposition from. Good communication is fundamental to formation flying. When you’re flying within a few metres of another aircraft, the more information you have about the aircraft around you the better. Hawk provides an unparalleled level of information which made this display much easier.”
A datalink connects all the aircraft in the display, passing critical information between each of the aircraft involved. This is similar in principal to how a wireless network works in the home – connecting a variety of gadgets and PC’s together.
The first cohort of RAF student pilots are currently undergoing fast jet training at RAF Valley using the new Hawk aircraft.