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The British designed and built BAE Systems Hawk is one of the world's most successful advanced jet trainers. Originally designed by Hawker Siddeley, the Hawk first flew in 1974 and entered service with the RAF in 1976 to replace the Folland Gnat T.1; enjoying superb export success having being procured in various guises by 19 nations. Whilst the original Hawk is no longer used by the RAF other than by the Red Arrows, the heavily updated Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer is currently operated by 4 and 25 Squadrons at RAF Valley as the Hawk T.2 where they are used to train the next generation of fighter pilot. Since 2008 the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer has also been licence built in India and flown by the Indian Air Force display team, the Surya Kiran.
The Royal Saudi Air Force originally ordered 50 Hawk Mk.65/65As over two contracts in 1985 and 1994. In addition, the RSAF ordered 22 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT) based on the Hawk Mk.128 in 2012 with a follow-on order for a further 22 being made in 2016. It is intended that the Hawk AJT will replace the Mk65 fleet once deliveries have been completed. The Hawk Mk.65 currently equips the RSAF display team, the Saudi Hawks, who fly seven examples painted gloss green and white.
We are very pleased to announce that the RSAF will be sending their national display team, the Saudi Hawks to display at this year's Air Tattoo.
Photo Credit: Tom Houquet