The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has taken delivery of the first of 33 upgraded Hawk advanced jet trainers.
The Royal Australian Air Force has taken delivery of the first Hawk advanced jet trainer upgraded to the latest, digital standard. The Initial Operating Capability for the Lead-In Fighter Capability Assurance Program (LIFCAP) was recognised at a ceremony at RAAF Base Williamtown on 5th July.
The first cohort from 79 Squadron at RAAF Base Pearce recently commenced training on the upgraded aircraft.
The upgraded Hawk provides new training capabilities including simulated radar, electronic warfare, digital mapping, ground proximity warning system and traffic collision avoidance. The upgrade also includes the replacement of two legacy synthetic training devices with three full mission simulators provided by CAE.
The upgrade of the Australian Hawk fleet is designed to provide an enhanced training capability to prepare pilots for fast jet aircraft including F/A-18 A/B Classic Hornets, F/A-18F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers and, when introduced into service in late 2018, the F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters.
A joint team of BAE Systems and RAAF technicians has already completed the upgrade of 12 of the 33 fleet of aircraft. Once modified, all 33 aircraft will be almost identical to the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) of the UK’s Royal Air Force.
Acting Commander Air Combat Group, Group Captain Robert Denney said: “A mid-life upgrade to the Hawk was necessary to ensure its continued viability, to decrease risk to operational conversion output and to provide the lead-in fighter training system with adaptability to support the training requirements associated with the new platforms.”
The Hawk aircraft fleet embodiment upgrade started in 2014 at BAE Systems Australia at its Fast Jet facility at Williamtown, NSW, and the fleet upgrade will be completed by early 2019.