BAE Systems Statement: After completing a flight development contract for the Indian Air Force (IAF), BAE Systems has delivered the 24th and final UK built Indian Hawk. Following a 3,000 mile journey across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the aircraft, flown by BAE Systems test pilots, arrived safely at Air Force Station Bidar to join the rest of the Hawk fleet in delivering fast jet training to the IAF.
The aircraft, HT001, which was actually the first IAF Hawk to be built, has, for nearly three years served as a flight test platform and proving ground for the integration of new systems and capabilities onto the IAF Hawk fleet . As well as development and acceptance flights, HT001 was also a key component in the programme which saw Indian Air Force flying instructors training to teach student pilots on the Hawk. This programme took place prior to the delivery of Hawks to India allowing the Indian training programme to start at the earliest opportunity.
Michael Christie, Senior Vice President, India for BAE Systems Military Air Solutions, said: “Hawk has brought a step change in pilot training capabilities for the IAF and this aircraft, which was the first India Hawk to be built, has been a key part of developing further capabilities for the Indian Air Force. “During its time here at BAE Systems, HT001 has proven to be extremely reliable, delivering excellent service from its time as a training platform for Indian Air Force instructors, through to the on-time and to budget completion of the recent flight development programme.
“The first Hawk was delivered to the IAF in November 2007 and other than this final development aircraft, deliveries were completed in 2008. Whilst this marks the completion of aircraft deliveries by BAE Systems to the Indian Air Force, we continue to provide support services to the IAF, and work closely with our industrial partners, HAL, in meeting the fast jet training needs of the Indian Air Force.” In arriving at Air Force Station Bidar, the home of the Indian Hawk fleet, HT001 the 860th Hawk delivered across the globe.