A support and maintenance contract worth £111m ($168m) has been awarded to BAE Systems by the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) for its 28 new Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) aircraft.

The latest contract, called Hawk In-Service Support, awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence, will ensure that the Hawk Tmk2 aircraft is ready for training the RAF’s fast jet pilots at RAF Valley.

The Hawk aircraft produces less noise and emissions, and has lower acquisition, operating and support costs compared with other jet trainers.

The Hawk AJT is 12.43m long with a wing span of 9.94m including missiles, 20,069lb (9,100kg) maximum take-off weight and 555KCAS (0.84M) maximum level speed at sea level.

The RAF, which received the first Hawk Tmk2 aircraft in 2009, has so far only received 22 of these aircraft, and expects to receive the final aircraft by the end of this year.

BAE Systems currently supports the RAF’s Hawk Tmk1 fleet at RAF Valley in Anglesey, Wales.