BAE Systems has been awarded a six-year contract to deliver support and training to a new joint UK-Qatar Hawk squadron based at RAF Leeming, UK. BAE Systems will provide Qualified Flying Instructors as part of this contract, delivering both live and synthetic training to Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) and Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots. The joint Hawk training squadron at RAF Leeming is expected to stand up in September this year. The squadron will deliver Advanced Jet Training (AJT) to QEAF and RAF pilots and will be home to Qatar’s recently acquired nine Hawk T2 Mk167 aircraft, which are currently being built by BAE Systems at Warton, Lancashire.
The formation of the UK-Qatar joint squadron that was first disclosed by bin Mohammmad al-Attiyah in October 2020. The squadron will provide additional flying hours for RAF pilots and see long-term international investment in new infrastructure and training facilities at RAF Leeming. This will include a Hawk training simulator, and the refurbishment of existing facilities. The decision to base the new squadron at RAF Leeming represents a long-term commitment to the base, which provides a strategic and operational Main Operating Base for the RAF. The joint Hawk training squadron is an integral component in increasing interoperability and coordination between both airforces, leading to closer cooperation and alignment in future military and peacekeeping efforts.
Noel Henderson, Head of Programme – Qatar Hawk, BAE Systems, said: “Working closely alongside the UK Ministry of Defence, we have started to mobilise this service by delivering, installing and commissioning equipment ready for the arrival of the first aircraft. We are proud to support the delivery of training expertise to the new joint squadron and we are recruiting and training personnel through our Qatari joint venture partner company BSL, which recently established a UK entity. These highly-skilled people will work alongside the QEAF and the RAF as part of the Whole Force team.”
BAE Systems delivers availability support and training to a global fleet of more than 650 Hawk aircraft which forms the heart of the training pipeline of many of the world’s leading air forces. The BAE Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, jet-powered advanced trainer aircraft. It was first flown at Dunsfold, Surrey, in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk, and subsequently produced by its successor companies, British Aerospace and BAE Systems. It has been used in a training capacity and as a low-cost combat aircraft. The Hawk is operational in two very distinct variants, the Hawk T.Mk 1 (and very similar Mk 1A) and T.Mk 2. The latter has replaced the Mk 1/1A in the flying training role, bringing personnel up to fast jet operational conversion unit (OCU) input standards after they graduate from the turboprop Texan T1.