HAL delivers first Indian-built Hawk to IAF

August 14th, 2008 - 6:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Aug 14 (IANS) State-run defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Thursday delivered the first indigenously built Hawk Mk-132 advanced jet trainer (AJT) to the Indian Air Force (IAF). Designed by the British defence major BAE Systems, the Hawk is a transonic tandem-seat aircraft that can be used in a ground attack role and is powered by a single Rolls-Royce Adour Mk 871 turbo fan engine.

The formal handing over of the AJT to IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major was preceded by a 10-minute flight demonstration by HAL test pilot Sqn. Ldr. (retd) Baldev Singh at the HAL airport despite an overcast sky and windy conditions.

“The HAL-built Hawk induction into our training course at Bidar air force base (in north Karnataka) will enable our pilots make the transition from sub-sonic to supersonic aircraft for operational and combat purposes,” Major said.

“Fulfilling our long-felt need, the AJT will help us in training more of our rookie pilots in flying frontline aircraft of any type,” he added.

Built at HAL’s aircraft division here, the Indian version of Hawk is part of a Rs.80 billion ($1.85 billion) contract the Indian government signed with BAE in March 2004 to acquire 66 AJTs, including 24 in flyaway condition and 42 to be manufactured indigenously under licence.

“BAE has already delivered 14 of the 24 aircraft till date. Six more are scheduled to arrive by year-end. At the same time, we eagerly look forward to induct the HAL-made Hawks at regular intervals. We hope HAL will ensure uninterrupted supply of the aircraft to step-up our training programme and maintain them,” Major told reporters later.

IAF began inducting the British-built Hawk into its fleet Feb 23 at Bidar air base and has been training its young pilots in batches of 20 each. The induction of more Hawks from BAE and HAL will enable the air force to train 40 pilots at a time.

“The Hawk can be used to provide basic, advanced and weapons training. In its operational role, it can be used as a ground attack fighter as it is capable of carrying and delivering munitions. It also has air defence capabilities when armed with air-to-air missiles,” HAL chairman Ashok K. Baweja said.

As an AJT, the HAL-built Hawk comes with an integrated navigation or attack system comprising many sub-systems inter-connected through a digital multiplex data bus. It provides the flight, navigation and weapon-aiming information displayed on the head-up-display and the head-down multi-functional display.

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