The Hawk Lead In Fighter Trainer

The South African Air Force (SAAF) Hawk Mark 120 Lead In Fighter Trainer (LIFT) aircraft is a derivative of the BAE SYSTEMS Mark 100 Hawk series, designed and built by BAE SYSTEMS of the United Kingdom since the mid-1990s. The engine, powering the Hawk LIFT is a Rolls Royce/Turbomeca Adour Mark 951 engine, which is a newly developed upgrade from the Adour 871, with South Africa as the launch customer. The aircraft has a newly developed local Avionics Suite by Advanced Technlogies Engineering (ATE). Local Industry has been involved in various elements of the Engineering, Training and Support deliverables.

The first two-seater Hawk T Mk 1 series was designed and delivered to the Royal Air Force in the mid-seventies. This evolved into the Hawk Mk 50/60 series through to the nineties, when a major 7 station wing modernisation and nose cone was done on the Mk 100 series. The first single-seater Hawk 200 trainer/light fighter was delivered to the Royal Oman Air Force in the early nineties. A naval version of the two-seater named Goshawk, was designed for the United States Navy in 1991. To date around 750 Hawk aircraft are being operated in more than 16 countries worldwide, flying in excess of 1,4 million flying hours. The NATO Flight Training Centre (NFTC) in Canada trains fighter pilots from a number of additional countries, and this makes the Hawk unique. By means of a well-established Hawk User Group for Aircrew and Groundcrew, an excellent exchange of knowledge and networking has been established. South Africa has participated therein since 2000 and will host the next User Group in 2007. Since South Africa signed up for the Hawk 100 series, the Indian Air Force, Royal Air Force and the Bahrain Air Force acquired versions of this aircraft. This bodes well for the future sustainability of Hawk worldwide.

General Description
The Hawk is a transonic lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) encompassing ideal handling characteristics for fighter training and is capable of demonstrating supersonic flight in a dive. The aircraft can train aspirant fighter pilots in all aspects of modern fighter flying. In the case of the Hawk Mk 120, the cockpit has been specifically tailored to seamlessly and cost effectively train pilots graduating from the SAAF Astra basic trainer to the SAAF Gripen front line fighter.

The Adour 951 engine introduces full authority digital engine control (FADEC), care free handling and a maximum thrust output of 6 500 lbs. The power to weight ratio and good sustained turn rates provide an ideal flight envelope and performance domain to step from the Astra to the Gripen. The Hawk has an open architecture avionics system which allows for efficient training in a systems environment and gives the aircrew a high situational awareness. Aircrew awareness is further enhanced by a simulated radar, multi-functional displays and hands-on throttle and stick (HOTAS). External fuel tanks and an air refuelling capability enhance the range of the aircraft. The combination of the above factors ensures a very capable lead-in fighter-trainer aircraft.

Application and Placement
The primary role of the Hawk Mk 120 is all aspects of Air Combat Training for the SAAF's air and ground crews from aircraft type conversion to full mission training during a deployment. This will include Joint Training with the other Arms of Service and participation in Operational training exercises. The 24 Hawks replace the 250 Impala Mk 1 and Mk 2 aircraft phased out in late 2005. They will be based at AFB Makhado and the Unit will retain its name of 85 Combat Flying School. The unit relocated from AFB Hoedspruit to AFB Makhado in January 2005.

By nature of the Hawk's inherent training capabilities, certain collateral operational tasks in a low threat environment are envisaged for the aircraft. These will be developed and implemented over the next few years and may include the following:

a. Search and Rescue
b. Communications
c. Border Patrol
d. Reconnaissance
e. Limited Close Air Support.

Programme Status
The Hawk Project has entered the Implementation Phase and ten aircraft have been delivered to date. The initial cadre of instructor and unit personnel training is well underway, most of the necessary facilities are in place and the first Hawk learner Aircrew course is due to commence in a year. The required Engineering, Training and Logistics support are being implemented. These will continue to be delivered, along with the remaining 14 aircraft and the full system will be handed over to the SAAF in 2008, at which point steady-state operations will have been achieved. Thereafter the Hawk LIFT System is expected to be in service with the SAAF for at least 30 years, in all likelihood closer to 40 years.




Hawk Lead in Fighter Trainer

Crew: 1-2
Length: 12.43 m (40.78 ft)
Wingspan: 9.075 m (29.77 ft)
Height:  3.98 m (13.06 ft)
Empty weight:   4,530 kg (9,987 lb)
Loaded weight: 8,720 kg (19,200 lb) 
Max takeoff weight: 9,100 kg (20,062 lb) 
Powerplant: 1 Adour Mk 951 with 6500 lb thrust
Wheel track:  3.47 m (11.38 ft)
Maximum speed: 500+ kts (1 000 km/h)
Range: Around 900 Nm clean. Can carry drop tanks and do A-A refueling for extended ranges
Service ceiling:  40,000 ft plus
Armament: 5 x underwing and 2 x wingtip stations
 1 x 30mm Aden gun pod
Provision for up to 2 x wingtip short-range infrared A-A missiles
5 x CBLS2000 with 4 x 12.5 kg smoke and flash practice bombs
Series of local Mk 81 bombs
Simulated weapons (all of the above)


 Mission Planning and Debriefing

Integrated System allowing for full Mission Planning/Debriefing and Scenario Rehearsals Common with Gripen.


 Suitability for the Local Scenario

The Hawk 100 series airframe was designed to be operated around the world and has proven itself worthy in this regard. The upgraded thrust of the engine of the SAAF Hawk will largely overcome previous limitations of operating in very hot and high altitude conditions. A large part of the Avionics Suite, Training System and Logistics Support equipment is locally developed and/or manufactured. Much effort has been placed on the Integrated Logistics and Life Cycle Cost Management processes to maximise local capabilities and reduce life cycle costs to the SAAF. The take-off and landing distances of the Hawk are well within the available capabilities and, together with the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), can be easily deployed away from the Main Operating Base. The environmental control system (ECS) has also been improved to cope with the cooling demands of the African scenario. Lastly, all the current weapons on Hawk are of local manufacture.

The communications and identification systems have been designed according to the SANDF Combat Net Interoperability Standards. Therefore, the aircraft avionics can adequately interact with the SANDF Command and Control systems to achieve meaningful training in this regard.


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