COV­ERS MORE GROUND

BAE Sys­tems — upgrade to en­sure air­craft pro­vides broad­est spec­trum of train­ing

New Straits Times - - Entertainment -

LANGKAWI

THE upgrade to the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s (RMAF) Hawk air­craft is aimed pri­mar­ily at the sin­gle seat light at­tack Mk.208.

BAE Sys­tems, which man­u­fac­tures the air­craft, said the upgrade mainly fo­cused on the de­tec­tion, self-pro­tec­tion and mis­sion plan­ning ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

BAE Sys­tems re­gional sales di­rec­tor Steve Os­borne said the upgrade, how­ever, could be made ap­pli­ca­ble to the Mk.108 vari­ant of the air­craft.

(The Mk.108 is the two-seat vari­ant used pri­mar­ily as an ad­vanced jet trainer, while the Mk.208 is a sin­gle-seat air­craft, which is used in Malaysia for light at­tack and as a point-air de­fence fighter.)

BAE Sys­tems and Airod Sdn Bhd signed a deal last year for the upgrade of the air­craft, which was ex­pected to take three years.

“BAE Sys­tems has been priv­i­leged to sup­port the RMAF with their Hawk fleet for nearly 22 years.

“The air­craft is glob­ally recog­nised as the best fast-jet trainer in the world and like the other 18 op­er­a­tors glob­ally, we be­lieve the RMAF is very happy with theirs.

“For the past 15 years, BAE Sys­tems has worked very closely with Airod, which is con­tracted to do sched­uled ser­vic­ing of the Hawk.

“Due to their un­der­stand­ing of the sys­tems, gained through this level of ser­vic­ing, Airod is clearly the most ex­pe­ri­enced Hawk main­tain­ers in Malaysia out­side RMAF.

“It makes good sense for a joint Airod–BAE Sys­tems upgrade so­lu­tion, as this pro­vides the RMAF with the least risk and high­est ca­pa­bil­ity so­lu­tion,” said Os­borne.

He said the up­grades to the Mk.208s would pro­vide the best op­er­a­tional en­hance­ment for RMAF’s needs and de­vel­op­ing threats.

“The upgrade also pro­vides a ma­jor en­hance­ment to the over­all RMAF Elec­tronic War­fare (EW) ca­pa­bil­ity. So, it does not only ben­e­fit Hawk users, it brings key ca­pa­bil­ity to the RMAF.

“The Hawk is sus­tain­able for the next 10 years, so this is an ex­cel­lent in­vest­ment, keep­ing the Mk.208 in tan­dem with the chang­ing Malaysian op­er­a­tional en­vi­ron­ment,” he said.

Os­borne said the Hawk, though al­ready the most suc­cess­ful ad­vanced jet trainer in the world and one with light com­bat ca­pa­bil­i­ties, con­tin­ued to evolve to meet train­ing re­quire­ments of cur­rent and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of fighter air­craft.

“The goal for BAE Sys­tems is to al­ways en­sure the air­craft pro­vides the broad­est spec­trum of train­ing... equally, BAE Sys­tems also looks for the op­por­tu­nity to ab­sorb some of the higher el­e­ments of ba­sic train­ing into the Hawk, ex­pand­ing the util­i­sa­tion of the air­craft right across the train­ing pipe­line.

“For the air force, this means less train­ing as­set types re­quired and less train­ing hours as it is more ex­pen­sive to op­er­ate fight­ers.

“The lat­est tech­nol­ogy sen­sor sim­u­la­tion suite with datalink is in­cor­po­rated into the mis­sion sys­tem aboard. This al­lows for re­al­is­tic train­ing to be car­ried out against syn­thetic and real tar­gets in both the air-to-air and air-to-ground do­mains.

“Sce­nar­ios can be ei­ther pre­pro­grammed prior to the sor­tie, or in real time by the in­struc­tor from the rear cock­pit.

“A wide range of air and ground tar­gets, threats and weapons are fit­ted into the sim­u­la­tion en­gine, en­sur­ing the train­ing sce­nar­ios are as close to the real thing as pos­si­ble.

“For ex­am­ple, if the stu­dent re­acts cor­rectly to a sit­u­a­tion in terms of ma­noeu­vres and coun­ter­mea­sures or weapons de­ploy­ment, he will sur­vive.

“If not, he will re­ceive an in­di­ca­tion in the HUD (head-up dis­play) that he was ‘killed’.

“Train­ing can be re­peated through­out the sor­tie with­out the need for real weapons, radar, or coun­ter­mea­sures, pro­vid­ing highly eco­nom­i­cal and highly ef­fec­tive train­ing with­out the need for costly weapons or EW ranges.”

The new Hawk air­craft, said Os­borne, had a “glass” cock­pit lay­out, hands-on-throt­tle-and­stick (HOTAS), mod­ing and switch­ing, which was rep­re­sen­ta­tive of cur­rent and fu­ture fight­ers, with full colour mul­ti­func­tion dis­plays and HUD.

“The cock­pit is fully NVG (night vi­sion gog­gles) com­pat­i­ble with full dig­i­tal mis­sion data record­ing, pro­vid­ing a com­plete mis­sion de­brief ca­pa­bil­ity.

“Since fast-jet air­crew should learn their com­bat skills in a jet air­craft, the re­li­able and pow­er­ful Rolls-Royce Adour Mk.951 en­gine gives the Hawk the per­for­mance re­quired.

“All of this is wrapped up in the well-proven Hawk air­frame with a com­pre­hen­sive HUMS (Health and Us­age Man­age­ment Sys­tem) to en­sure op­ti­mised main­te­nance and fleet man­age­ment. The en­tire Hawk Train­ing Sys­tem is de­signed to pro­vide the high­est level of air­crew train­ing at the cheap­est through-life cost.”

Mean­while, BAE Sys­tems an­nounced that its Ar­ti­san 3D radar sys­tem had suc­cess­fully com­pleted three years of seabased tri­als on the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates, and had also been fit­ted on the new air­craft car­rier HMS Queen El­iz­a­beth.

The radar, which can track more than 800 ob­jects si­mul­ta­ne­ously from 200m to 200km away — and cut through ra­dio in­ter­fer­ence equal to 10,000 mo­bile phone sig­nals — has un­der­taken sea tri­als across mul­ti­ple Royal Navy frigates since 2013 and proved its ca­pa­bil­i­ties in an op­er­a­tional en­vi­ron­ment.

Un­der a £105 mil­lion (RM574 mil­lion) con­tract, BAE Sys­tems will de­velop, man­u­fac­ture and pro­vide sup­port for 19 of the radars for the Royal Navy un­til 2022.

The 19th Ar­ti­san 3D radar has now suc­cess­fully com­pleted fac­tory ac­cep­tance test­ing and all 19 radars will be de­liv­ered to the United King­dom De­fence Min­istry by the mid­dle of this year.

BAE Sys­tems prod­ucts and train­ing ser­vices di­rec­tor Les Gregory said the Ar­ti­san 3D was a ground­break­ing radar sys­tem that de­liv­ered real ca­pa­bil­ity to the Royal Navy with its supreme ac­cu­racy and un­com­pro­mis­ing track­ing.

“Its world-lead­ing elec­tronic pro­tec­tion mea­sure en­sures that even com­plex jam­mers will not re­duce its ef­fec­tive­ness.

“Ar­ti­san 3D has now been ex­ten­sively tested, demon­strat­ing high per­for­mance with sig­nif­i­cant flex­i­bil­ity to meet cur­rent and fu­ture threats.

“It pro­vides air and sur­face sur­veil­lance and tar­get track­ing to sup­port plat­form and weapon sys­tem re­quire­ments on a wide range of plat­forms. BAE Sys­tems is proud to con­tinue its record of pro­vid­ing the most ad­vanced radar ca­pa­bil­i­ties to the Royal Navy.”

PIC BY DANIAL SAAD

Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak vis­it­ing the BAE Sys­tems booth af­ter open­ing the Langkawi In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime and Aerospace Ex­hi­bi­tion (Lima) 2017 at the Mah­suri In­ter­na­tional Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre yes­ter­day.

The Hawk Mk.108

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