RFP to BAE Sys­tems for 20 more Hawks for IAF aerobatics team

SP's MAI - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES -

In ad­di­tion to the 123 Hawks al­ready or­dered, some of which are in ser­vice with the In­dian Air Force, the IAF’s aerobatics dis­play team, the erst­while Surya Ki­ran Aerobatics Team (SKAT) has been non-func­tional since it dis­banded last year, hand­ing over its Ki­ran Mk2 in­ter­me­di­ate train­ers for pi­lot train­ing. It had been known for a while that the Ki­ran would be re­placed with the more pow­er­ful BAE Hawk.

The wheels have be­gun turn­ing now with HAL send­ing out an RFP to BAE Sys­tems for a po­ten­tial or­der to sup­ply prod­ucts and ser­vices for the man­u­fac­ture of 20 Hawk Ad­vanced Jet Trainer (AJT) air­craft. Ac­cord­ing to a BAE state­ment, “The air­craft, to be built by HAL in Ben­galuru, will ful­fill the In­dian Air Force’s re­quire­ment for its pres­ti­gious aer­o­batic team. Upon suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion, this would be the third con­tract placed on BAE Sys­tems for sup­ply of ma­te­ri­als and equip­ment for the Hawk Mk132, build­ing upon pre­vi­ous or­ders of 66 air­craft in 2004, com­pris­ing sup­ply of 24 Hawk air­crafts in fly­away con­di­tion and 42 air­craft built un­der li­cence by HAL, and a fur­ther 57 air­craft in 2010.” The IAF Hawks sta­tioned at Bidar in Kar­nataka are al­ready be­ing used for lead-in fighter train­ing of pi­lots.

Guy Grif­fiths, Group MD, In­ter­na­tional, said, “This is a tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity to build on the suc­cess of Hawk in In­dia and demon­strates the progress we are mak­ing in cap­tur­ing sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­ni­ties to ad­dress the de­fence mod­erni­sa­tion re­quire­ments of the In­dian Gov­ern­ment. To­gether with HAL, we look for­ward to giv­ing the In­dian Air Force’s dis­play team a fan­tas­tic air­craft.” It is un­der­stood that the IAF’s re­ju­ve­nated dis­play team might re­vert to its orig­i­nal name, Thun­der­bolts, a name it had when it flew the British-built Hunter air­craft.

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