State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) will roll out 26 more advanced jet trainer (AJT) Hawks for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy by end of fiscal 2016-17. “Of the 26 Hawks to be manufactured over the next two years, 19 will be delivered to the air force and seven of its variant to the navy by the end of next fiscal,” an official of the defence behemoth told in Bengaluru on Saturday.
HAL is manufacturing the single-engined Hawk Mk-132 version under a production license from the Britain-based BAE Systems, which initially secured an order in March 2004 for 66 trainers for the IAF, including 24 off-the-shelf from its facility and the remaining 42 through the Indian aerospace major at a cost of Rs.8,000 crore.
“We got an order to manufacture 40 more Hawks to the air force in July 2010 after delivering 42 Hawks to IAF by 2011-12,” the official said on the margins of the Aero India 2015 trade expo at the Yelahanka base of the IAF on the city’s outskirts.
The company also got an order in 2010 to supply 17 naval variants of the trainer to the navy. “We have delivered 10 Hawk variant to the navy and will roll out the remaining seven by 2016-17,” the spokesman said. The air force has based the Hawk squadrons at its Bidar base in north Karnataka, about 700km from Bengaluru, to train its rookie pilots in flying supersonic fighters like the MiG, Jaguar, Mirage and Sukhoi SU-30MKI.
“We have absorbed the Hawk technology to support the IAF fleet over the next four decades,” HAL chairman T. Suvarna Raju said in a statement on the occasion. Air Marshal Ramesh Rai, who heads the IAF’s Yelahanka-based Training Command, said the Hawk had been of great service to force and has flown over 70,000 hours.
The tandem-seat trainer is used to give advanced flying and weapons training to air force pilots. With capability to be used as a ground attack aircraft or for air defence, Hawk can also be flown at night and perform a wide range of aerobatic manoeuvres.
BAE has supplied to HAL the Hawk’s fuselage, kits for equipping them, wings, accessories and other material for 20 assemblies. HAL’s avionics divisions at Hyderabad and Korba in Chhattisgarh provide the integrated navigation and attack system. (IANS)