The Finnish Air Force has flight tested the first upgraded Hawk mk66 jet trainer from its flight test centre’s base in Halli, Finland.

The flight test verified the aircraft’s safe flight characteristics, the engine and other systems for normal operation.

The test flights of the designated HW-374 aircraft will continue throughout spring and will run into summer.

The upgraded Hawk mk66 will be assigned to the Training Air Wing at Kauhava in 2011 and 2012 for fast jet and tactical flight training.

The mk66 fleet will undergo a cockpit upgrade with digital multifunction displays and a new digital mission planning and recording system.

The Air Force will induct 18 upgraded Hawk mk66s into service in 2011–12 and has plans to upgrade 26 Hawk mk66s, mk51s and mk51As by 2015.