July 2: The first ‘second-generation’ Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) was officially unveiled at RAF Valley in Anglesey today, one of a proposed fleet of 28 bought through a £450 million contract with BAE Systems.
The Royal Air Force’s existing fleet of 104 Hawk trainers is now 33 years old, having entered service in 1976, and is used for fast jet training, as well as being the mount for the Red Arrows aerobatic team. The new Hawk, dubbed the T2 in RAF service, is a brand new aircraft with modern ‘glass’ instrumentation, the latest advances in radar, weapons and defensive aids simulation and will provide trainee pilots with a cockpit interface similar to that of Typhoon and Harrier GR9.
So far five aircraft have been delivered to No. 4 flying Training School at RAF Valley, with another five to follow shortly. Initially six aircraft will be used for development of the full training syllabus prior to the start of pilot training on the new aircraft in 2011. The RAF has 28 Hawk T2s on order.