BENGALURU: State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has rolled out an upgraded Hawk as an advanced jet trainer for the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots, said the defence behemoth on Thursday.
“The first indigenously upgraded Hawk Mk132 or Hawk-i will be showcased at the ensuing Aero India air show in Bengaluru in mid-February,” said HAL Chairman T. Suvarna Raju in a statement here.
HAL got an order from the IAF in July 2010 to manufacture 40 more Hawks under a production license from the British BAE Systems, which supplied 66 trainers to the air force, including 24 from its facility in Britain and 42 through the Indian aerospace major at Rs 8,000 crore.
The IAF has based the Hawk squadrons at its Bidar base in north Karnataka, about 700 km from Bengaluru, to train its rookie pilots in flying supersonic fighters like MiG, Jaguar, Mirage and Sukhoi.
“The upgraded version is the 100th Hawk to be made in India, signifying self-reliance and indigenous capability,” asserted Raju.
The upgraded version has home-grown designed and developed avionics systems in place of the imported mission computer and data transfer units to enhance its operational and training capabilities.
“The indigenous mission computer in the dual redundant configuration has digital map generation for improved situational awareness. The Embedded Virtual Training System (EVTS) offers improved training capability,” noted Raju.
The Hawk-i also provides secured voice communication and data link capability with the integration of Softnet Radio, which enables pilots to configure and select cockpit human machine interface for different aircraft platforms.
The single engine tandem-seat trainer is used for advanced flying and weapons training to air warriors, as its cockpit provides a clear field view and the aircraft is equipped with navigation, Global Positioning System (GPS), head-up display, hands-on throttle and stick controls.
With the capability to be used as a ground attack aircraft or for air defence, the Hawk also flies at night and performs a wide range of aerobatic manoeuvres.
BAE has supplied to HAL Hawk’s fuselage, kits for equipping them with wings, accessories and materials for 20 defined assemblies. HAL’s avionics divisions at Hyderabad and Korba in Chattisgarh provide the integrated navigation and attack system.
“We have absorbed the Hawk technology to support the IAF fleet over the next four decades,” added Raju.