The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) Hawk 127 lead-in fighter has successfully recorded 100,000 flying hours with flying and technical defence crews.
The two-seat jet aircraft is used to train RAAF pilots and aircrew for operational conversions to F/A-18 Hornet, F/A-18 Super Hornet and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The RAAF’s 76 and 79 Squadrons operate Hawk to provide air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons training for pilots.
RAAF Aerospace Systems Division Defence head air vice-marshal Catherine Roberts said: "This milestone highlights the ongoing success for the Hawk 127 Lead-In Fighter fleet as an effective and reliable training platform in preparing RAAF pilots and aircrew to operate jet fighters in the protection of Australia’s national security.
"The partnership with Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, RAAF, and BAE Systems Australia is an excellent example of Defence and industry working together to provide capability for our Australian Defence Force.
"The partnership will continue to grow with BAE Systems Australia taking over operational maintenance from the Air Force from 1 July 2016."
BAE Systems’ current in-service support contract for the fleet was initially awarded in July 2013 for a period of five years, with an option to extend the period to 2026.
Powered by a single Adour Mk 871 turbofan engine, the low-wing, all-metal aircraft comes with an integrated navigation and attack system.
The aircraft’s two display and mission computers coordinate, process and command the display of information from the communications, navigation and attack sub-systems.
Each cockpit includes hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) controls.
Image: RAAF’s Hawk 127 lead-in fighter in flight. Photo: courtesy of Ian Creek.