Preparing for the frontline

Both are qualified flying instructors who use the T2 as a ‘flying classroom’ to prepare the RAF's pilots of the future for frontline action in jets including Typhoon.

They were joined by Deputy Team Manager, Flt Lt Al Branston, on a tour of our Warton site in March including a look at where T2s are being manufactured and assembled for our export customers.

Flt Lt Keeley said: "Both Ben and I were really impressed to see the quality of the set up and the people who come together to build the Hawk.

"Coming here and seeing how the aircraft is built gives us more substance to the role demo which we will be displaying this summer."

We were really impressed to see the quality of the set up and the people who come together to build the Hawk Flt Lt Toby Keeley


Flt Lt Ben Polwin and Flt Lt Toby Keeley try out our Mach Loop simulator
Packed with technology

The first components of the T2 are manufactured at our site in Brough which are then sent to our Warton site for further manufacturing work, assembly and testing, with the aircraft's wings coming from our Samlesbury facility.

Speaking about the performance of the T2, he added that it was "the closest thing to flying a front-line fast jet" using its cockpit packed with technology which can simulate weapons, radar and defensive aids.

It helps to ‘brain train’ pilots for life in the frontline at a fraction of the cost.

The instructor added: "We can load the pilots up with everything from air-to-surface threats and mission planning and then, when they are flying, we can input other threats from the back seat.

"The kit on it is absolutely fantastic and sets the guys up really well for life on Typhoon and F-35."

Flt Lts Ben Polwin and Toby Keeley with Deputy Team Manager, Flt Lt Al Branston on the Hawk manufacturing line
A taste of training

Both pilots are working up an eight-minute sequence to give air show spectators a taste of how they train up the RAF’s pilots of the future.

Flt Lt Keeley said: "It takes students about a year to go through Valley, so we are trying to get as much of the training we give them into our eight minute sequence.

"There will be everything from basic performance manoeuvres and close formation flying, right up to combat training.

"We are going to get some pyrotechnics involves when we are doing the simulated attacks, so it should be a bit different to your generic display.”

The role demo will make its first public demonstration at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in July before performing at a number of air shows culminating at The Battle of Britain Anniversary Air Show at RAF Duxford in September.