Equipped with the Hawk Mk.132, the IAF aerobatics team (which disbanded last year) will be only the second nine-Hawk formation team in the world after the RAF Red Arrows. The erstwhile Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team (SKAT), will receive a new title — sources say the team may even take on its first name, Thunderbolts, a name it had when it operated the Hawker Hunter.
The BAE statement goes on to say, “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 fly-away condition and 42 aircraft built under license by HAL, and a further 57 aircraft in 2010.”
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 modernization requirements of the Indian Government. Together with HAL, we look forward to giving the Indian Air Force’s display team a fantastic aircraft.”