The Hawk Mk132 aircraft has significantly contributed to India’s aerospace industry, serving as an advanced jet trainer for combat pilots. This article will delve into the history, features, and impact of the Hawk aircraft program in India. From its origins as a British design to its indigenous upgrades, we will explore the journey of this remarkable aircraft.
Origins of the Hawk Aircraft
The Hawk aircraft, of British origin, is a low-wing trainer powered by a single jet engine. Designed and developed by Hawker Siddeley, the prototype took its first flight in 1974. After a merger, British Aerospace and BAE Systems subsequently took over the Hawk project. Over the years, the Hawk aircraft has gained recognition as an advanced jet trainer (AJT) and has been sold to 18 operators worldwide, with more than 900 aircraft in service.
The Hawk in India
Induction into the Indian Air Force
The Indian Air Force (IAF) formally inducted the Hawk 132 AJT into its fleet on February 23, 2008. The IAF’s facility for training fighter pilots, located at Air Force Station in Bidar, Karnataka, became the home of the Hawk 132. This induction marked a significant step in enhancing the training standards of combat pilots in India.
Acquisition Challenges and Success
Acquiring the Hawk aircraft 132 by the IAF was protracted and tedious. The IAF had initiated a case for the procurement of the Hawk in the early 1980s to address the inadequacy in training due to the lack of a dedicated AJT. However, it took over two decades before the contract with BAE Systems for 66 aircraft was sign on March 26, 2004. Out of the total orders of 123 aircraft, 24 were deliver by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in flyaway condition, and the remaining were manufacture in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Upgrades and Indigenous Production
HAL embarked on the program for the indigenous upgrade of the Hawk 132 AJT to achieve a higher degree of self-reliance in indigenous production. This program aimed to integrate new subsystems, manage the obsolescence of avionics systems, and enhance the aircraft’s operational and training capabilities. One significant achievement in this upgrade was the replacement of the Mission Computer and Data Transfer Units provided by the OEM with systems designed and developed by HAL. With improved features and capabilities such as Digital Map Generation, the new Mission Computer delivers better situational awareness for the pilots.
The upgraded Hawk aircraft, known as the Hawk-i, also incorporates secure voice communication and data link capability through the integration of Softnet Radio. This innovation allows pilots to configure and select different cockpit Human Machine Interfaces for various aircraft platforms. Additionally, the aircraft is equip with an Embedded Virtual Training System (EVTS) that enhances training capabilities.
Impact on Training and Safety
The introduction of the Hawk 132 AJT in the IAF has significantly impacted the quality of training for combat pilots. The fleet of Hawk 132 aircraft in the IAF’s inventory has accumulated an impressive 100,000 hours of flying as of the end of 2016. This milestone demonstrates the aircraft’s reliability and durability, further solidifying its reputation as an effective training platform. The Hawk 132 AJT has not only upgraded training standards but also contributed to enhancing flight safety for the IAF.
Hawk 132+ and Combat-Ready Version
BAE Systems and HAL are collaborating to develop a combat-ready version of the Hawk aircraft, the Hawk 132+. This upgraded version is expect to be unveil at Aero India 2017 and aims to offer low-cost air power solutions to countries seeking to build up their air capabilities. The IAF may procure some of these platforms for training combat pilots in weapon systems.
Order for Surya Kiran
The IAF has project a requirement for an additional 20 Hawk aircraft to be use by its formation aerobatic team, the Surya Kiran. The contract for this order is expect to be conclude soon, further expanding the IAF’s fleet of Hawk aircraft.
1. What is the Hawk aircraft?
The Hawk aircraft is a British single-engine, jet-powered advanced trainer aircraft. It is use for training pilots, as well as for light combat and reconnaissance missions.
2. What is the Hawk Mk 132?
The Hawk Mk 132 is an advance version of the Hawk aircraft develop for the Indian Air Force. It features an upgraded engine, advanced avionics, and other modern systems.
3. What is a Hawk jet aircraft?
The Hawk jet aircraft refers to the family of advanced trainer and light combat aircraft developed by BAE Systems. It is known for its maneuverability, ease of maintenance, and cost-effectiveness.
4. What role does the Hawk trainer aircraft serve?
The Hawk trainer aircraft serves as a platform for training military pilots, providing them with experience in flying advanced jet aircraft and preparing them for operational roles in fighter and attack aircraft.
5. What are some notable features of the Hawk aircraft?
The Hawk aircraft is known for its high agility, advance avionics, and weapon-carrying capabilities. It also has a proven track record of successful operations and has been export to numerous countries worldwide.
The Hawk aircraft program in India has been a remarkable journey of indigenous production and upgrades. From its induction into the IAF to its significant impact on training standards and flight safety, the Hawk 132 AJT has proven valuable. With ongoing developments and future orders, the Hawk aircraft continues to contribute to India’s aerospace industry and serve as a vital tool for training combat pilots.