BAE Systems has been awarded an 11-year contract to continue its support for the UK’s Royal Air Force Hawk fleet. The £590million contract secures hundreds of engineering jobs in North Wales, home to No. 4 Flying Training School, responsible for training the UK’s next generation of world-class fighter pilots. As well as providing availability support to the RAF’s Hawk T2 fleet, BAE Systems will provide depth maintenance to the RAF’s iconic Red Arrows display team from RAF Valley in Anglesey, ensuring the Hawk fleet continues as a global ambassador for the UK.
The Hawk aircraft is heralded by the RAF as its chosen jet trainer to train its student pilots who will ultimately go on to operate aircraft including the Typhoon, F-35 and next generation combat aircraft. BAE Systems has provided support to the Hawk fleet for 12 years. The new contract will deliver efficiencies through new ways of working and harnessing the use of technology to drive savings which will be reinvested into the RAF’s training capability. As part of the contract, BAE Systems and Babcock will also carry out depth maintenance to the Hawk TMk1 aircraft flown by the Red Arrows from RAF Valley, ensuring the team continues to represent the speed, agility and precision of the RAF at air shows across the globe.
Andrea Thompson, Managing Director – Europe & International, BAE Systems’ Air sector, said: “As the UK’s sovereign combat air capability provider, we pride ourselves in our close work with the RAF to understand its training and operational requirements; supporting the RAF to equip pilots with the skills, capabilities and equipment they need to safeguard national security. Through this collaborative approach with the RAF and our industry partners, we have secured the long-term continuation of Hawk support, which will deliver improved value for money and allow savings to be reinvested which will ultimately benefit the UK’s air power talent and capability.”
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.