Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Indian Air Force inducts AJT Hawk into active service

Recommended Posts

23 February 2008


Bidar, Karnataka: The Indian Air Force on Saturday inducted the BAE

Systems-built Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) as part of the training

squadron at the Air Force Station Bidar, nearly 150 km from Hyderabad.

The aircraft will train the new generation of Indian Air force fighter


The induction ceremony involved a breathtaking display of air manoeuvres by

the Hawk AJT and was also attended by the defence minister, AK Antony, air

chief, Fali H Major and a host of officers and dignitaries.

The induction of the Hawk aircraft fulfils a long-standing requirement of

the Indian Air Force for an Advanced Jet Trainer.

With its proven design and advanced avionics, the Hawk-132 aircraft is

expected to bridge the gap between the performance spectrum of the

Intermediate trainer and frontline fighter aircraft which trainee pilots

would eventually fly, an official said.

The aircraft is expected to greatly enhance flight safety and will have a

beneficial impact on the quality of training being imparted to fighter

pilots, he said.

The contract for purchase of 66 AJTs was finally signed in 2004 amid much

debate in the country over frequent crashes of the MiG-21 fighter aircraft

which earned them the sobriquet "flying coffins".

Of the 66 AJT Hawk-132 aircraft, 24 will be bought from the British

Aerospace Systems while the remaining 42 will be manufactured under license

by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd at Nashik and Bangalore.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

BIDAR(Karnataka): After a mind-boggling delay of 26 years, which exemplifies India's tortuous defence procurement policies :rolleyes: , the IAF on Saturday finally inducted the British Hawk AJTs (advanced jet trainers) to train its rookie pilots on the intricacies of flying combat fighter jets.


The AJTs will help the young pilots bridge the quantum jump from flying sub-sonic aircraft like HPT-32 and Kiran trainers to directly handling the supersonic 'highly-unforgiving' MiG-21s, without any transitional training to improve inadequate flying skills, the norm in IAF till now.


Considering that there have been over 700 crashes recorded by IAF since 1970, with around 180 pilots losing their lives and scores of civilians being killed on the ground, and that almost half of them were blamed on "human error", proper training to young pilots to hone their combat flying skills is certainly the need of the hour.


"With the induction of AJTs now, it's expected that existing gaps in the transitional training of our young pilots will get adequately plugged," said defence minister A K Antony, who formally inducted the first eight Hawks into service at this airbase.


Acknowledging the huge delay, the minister said there were several constraints, like lack of funds and slow decision-making, in the past. "But now, things are moving fast. The government is determined to give full support to the modernization of the armed forces," he added.


Under the Rs 8,000-crore AJT project, finalized in March 2004, IAF will receive 66 twin-seater Hawks — 24 in 'flyaway condition' from BAE Systems, with the other 42 to be manufactured indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd under transfer of technology — in batches by 2011.


That's not all. As reported by TOI earlier, the defence ministry has now approved the induction of another 40 Hawks for the IAF after that, with the Navy also getting 17 of them for its own aircraft carrier-based fighter training.


In all, this will mean 123 Hawks. And they certainly do not come cheap, each costing around Rs 85 crore. But apart from their sheer usefulness in training rookie pilots, they can also be used as ground attack or air defence aircraft in times of war, capable as they are of carrying 6,800 pounds of weapons, rockets, bombs and air-to-air missiles.


The progressive induction of the Hawks will, of course, mean the curtains for the ageing MiG-21 trainers, with older training establishments at Tezpur, Bhuj, Jamnagar and Nalia already in the process of being disbanded.


"IAF has long needed a link between basic trainers and advanced fighters like Sukhoi-30MKIs, Mirage-2000s, Jaguars and MiGs. The Hawk will bridge this gap effectively," said IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major.


Group captain Michael Fernandez, the chief instructor at the Bidar airbase, added, "Around 40 pilots will be trained here on the Hawks every year beginning from July, flying around 160 hours in two semesters, coupled with training on advanced simulators."


In effect, after receiving Stage 1 and 2 training on HPT-32s and Kirans for a year, newly-commissioned pilots will now learn tactical flying, night-flying, air combat manoeuvring and air-to-ground bombing on the AJTs, without being directly made to fly advanced supersonic fighters.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites






Hawk-132 is also equipped with several Indian components such as the communication sets, identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system and the radio altimeter. In addition to being an AJT, the Hawk-132 is fully combat capable and can carry air-to-air missile and air-to-ground strikes. It can also be used as a lightweight fighter. The contract for the supply of the Hawk AJT was signed between the IAF and BAE Systems in 2004. The deal envisaged a supply of 66 aircraft.


The Bidar airfield, which is located in northwest Karnataka, will serve as the main operating base for the Hawk. This base has been a training establishment for trainee IAF pilots since 1963. The airfield which was home to the IAF's Suryakiran aerobatic display team had undergone a Rs.1.20 billion refurbishment to enable it accommodate the Hawks.


India would be the third biggest customer for Hawks, closely following in the footsteps of the British Royal Air Force and the South African Air Force. The Hawk is in worldwide operation with 800 plus aircraft in use by 17 customers and 22 armed forces. The trainers have generated over 1.5 million flight hours in experience. The Hawk-132 is a variant of the highly successful BAE Systems Hawk AJTs. It incorporates an open architecture mission computer, glass cockpit and a state of the art avionics suite including a new generation Inertial Navigation System with GPS.


Speaking on the occasion Antony promised to give a new look and modernisation to the IAF within next two years. IAF will acquire 40 more Hawks, intermediate jet trainers, Aerosat radars and unmanned aerial vehicles, he said. He was positive about allocation of adequate funds to the defence in 2008-09 budget and said that US Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin F-16, the Russian MiG-35, the Swedish Grippen, the French Rafaele, and the Eurofighter Typhoon built by a European consortium are the aircrafts in the fray.


The induction came four months after the IAF, one of the oldest air forces in the world, celebrated its 75th anniversary. This is also the first induction of aircraft since the fourth-generation Sukhoi SU-30MKI joined the IAF fleet in 2001. The IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, and the British High Commissioner to India Richard Stagg were among those who attended the ceremony.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
India would be the third biggest customer for Hawks, closely following in the footsteps of the British Royal Air Force and the South African Air Force.

& the USN has over 200 T-45 Goshawks - heavily modified, yes but still Hawks.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still surprised no other country with carriers has bought T-45s yet. Granted they're no help with Harriers...

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm still surprised no other country with carriers has bought T-45s yet. Granted they're no help with Harriers...


France uses the USN's T-45s. So I guess thats why they don't buy them. (Plus Dassault would likely interiene and offer a Naval Alpha Jet.)






Doesn't the Russian Navy use an Su-33 with an Su-34 cockpit?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Su-27KUB is its name I believe. Info is sketchy as to whether it's combat operational or purely for training. I'm not sure if I've even seen a pic of one with paint yet, just primer!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  


Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..