Bengaluru: The Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) has clocked 100,000 hours of flying hours with the Indian Air Force (IAF).
BAE Systems, the makers of Hawk Mk132 AJT termed the achievement as an ‘important milestone’ and a compelling story of success.
BAE quoted Steve Timms, Managing Director, Defence Information, Training and Services saying: “Hawks provide new generation training to next generation air warriors and delivering our commitment to Make in India in partnership with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The Indian Air Force is one of the largest operators of the Hawk globally and we wish its air warriors safe landings.”
The IAF operates Hawks based out of Air Force Station in Bidar in Karnataka.
The IAF also has its Surya Kiran aerobatic display team now flying the Hawks. The team’s first public display on four Hawks was at AFS Hindon during Air Force Day celebrations in 2015. Since November 2016, the team has added two more jets to the display team and eventually the strength will be raised to nine.
BAE credits the latest milestone to the longstanding association with the IAF and HAL.
“Together, BAE Systems and HAL are committed to strengthen their relationship through ongoing discussions on exploring long-term sustainable business opportunities, globally,” says a company release.
For HAL, often at the receiving end for cost and time overruns, the Hawk programme set new benchmarks. The Hawk team at HAL has been credited with sticking to the deadline and even finishing the deliveries ahead of schedule.
Riding on the success of Hawk production, HAL has even now replicated the same philosophies for the Tejas production line.
“Some of the best production lessons from the Hawk line is already been adopted at the new LCA Division. The jigs, the structural and assembly lines have drawn inspiration from the Hawk model,” says a DGM with HAL’s Tejas Division.
BAE says it continues to work with HAL towards the successful completion of a potential order to supply products and services for the manufacture of a third batch of Hawks, building upon previous orders of 66 aircraft in 2004 and a further 57 aircraft in 2010.
The Indian Navy operates around 17 Hawks, mostly based out of INS Dega in Visakhapatnam.