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Mon, Jul 06, 2009

RAF Receives First Hawk Trainers

New Trainers Very Similar To Front Line Combat Jets

The first of the RAF's GBP450m fleet of 28 new Advanced Jet Trainers, the Hawk T Mk2, arrived at RAF Valley in Anglesey this week. The new Hawk Ts will mean pilots can now train on an aircraft with systems closely compatible with the latest front line jets.

Featuring a glass cockpit and the latest advances in radar, weapons and defensive aids simulation, the Hawk T Mk2 is aimed at providing a seamless transition from flying training to operational squadron.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support Quentin Davies said "Delivery of these aircraft is excellent news for the Royal Air Force and for British industry. Building on the success of the Hawk T Mk1, they will enable our pilots to hone the skills required to fly the latest generation of combat aircraft in a state-of-the-art training environment."

In addition to the realistic in-flight training environment, the new Hawk benefits from simpler design and construction, leading to lower acquisition and support costs. Infrastructure to support the new training regime is currently under construction at RAF Valley by the Ascent Flight Services Consortium, which was awarded contract to deliver all military pilot training on an incremental basis last summer.

Air Vice-Marshal Baz North, Air Officer Commanding 22 Group, responsible for all RAF training, sang the praises of the aircraft. "The Hawk has long been the backbone of fast jet training but this new advanced version will be far more representative of the new generation of jets that our trainee pilots will go on to fly on operations," he said. "It will provide real benefits in enabling pilots to move more rapidly to full combat readiness."

Initial deliveries of ten aircraft following formal release to service in April will allow six to be used for development of the full training syllabus, prior to the start of pilot training on the new aircraft in 2011.

'Release to service' is a statement that the aircraft is signed off by the RAF as safe to be flown (within specific limitations) by qualified Armed Forces personnel. The 'in service date' is the point in time from which the aircraft will be used for a stated purpose and is set for later this year.

FMI: www.raf.mod.uk

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