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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. A more advanced version of the Hawk, known as the Hawk 100 series was developed during the late 1980s which included a revised airframe, modern avionics, new wings and greater combat capabilities with deliveries beginning in 1993. The Hawk 100 was further developed into the 120 series, known as the Lead In Fighter in the late 1990s which was ordered by South Africa and Australia. 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.
Whilst the original Hawk is no longer used by the RAF other than by the Red Arrows, the heavily updated Mk.128 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. The Hawk T.2 is operated alongside the Texan T.1 as part of No.4 Flying Training School. The Hawks form part of the Military Flying Training System (MFTS) operated under a PFI by Ascent.
No.4 FTS will be providing a pair of Hawk T.2s for static display at this year's Air Tattoo. It is planned for one to appear in the RAF experience and for the other to be parked together with an example of each type that form the MFTS.
Photo Credit: RIAT Volunteer