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Hawks to join IAF on Saturday
February 22, 2008 19:18 IST
British Aerospace Systems-built Advanced Jet Trainer -- Hawk -- will be formally inducted into the Indian Air Force at a function on Saturday.
With the induction, the IAF would become the 19th Air Force in the world to use Hawks as its trainer frontline aircraft.
BAE Systems had already delivered eight aircrafts to the IAF, with the first jets arriving at Air Force Station Bidar in November last year.
The IAF will receive a total of 66 Hawks, 24 of which have been built by BAE Systems in the UK and 42 built under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd in Bangalore, an official statement said.
Nigel Whitehead, Group Managing Director, Military Air Solutions, BAE Systems, said: "Tomorrow will be another proud day for everyone involved in the Hawk programme. To see the Hawk AJT inducted into the Indian Air Force represents a significant event for both BAE Systems and the IAF."
The Hawk AJT will provide the IAF with a world leading capability ensuring future generations of student pilots have the ideal platform for transition from students to frontline jet pilots, he said.
"The Indian Hawk programme is an excellent example of BAE Systems' capability to work with customers to ensure that both military and industrial requirements are met," Whitehead said.
Besides delivery of aircraft and training devices, BAE Systems, in partnership with the UK Royal Air Force, has delivered a training programme that will see on its completion in mid-2008, over 75 IAF pilots trained on the current RAF Hawk fleet at RAF Valley.
"Many of those who have completed the course have returned to India and gone directly to the IAF's most sophisticated frontline aircraft -- a testament to the skill of the pilots and the training they received during their time at RAF Valley," the release said.
But the training being provided is not restricted to the aircrew. A number of the Hawk AJTs that will be supplied to the IAF have also been used to train around 100 engineering officers and technicians of the Air Force in BAE systems' Technical Training Academy at Warton.