Patria Aviation has received a contract worth roughly €40 million ($56.5 million) to replace avionics equipment on 18 secondhand BAE Systems Hawk 66 trainers for the Finnish air force.

Signed on 31 December, the new order follows a previous deal to modernise Finland's 49 Hawk 51/51As with new Cockpit 4000 systems provided by CMC Electronics. The first of these was handed over during last June's Paris air show (below), and five have now been returned to operational service.

 Hawk upgrade Finland - Billypix
© Billypix
Finland had previously ordered the same upgrade for its Hawk 51/51A fleet

Acquired from the Swiss air force in 2007 and held in storage, the Hawk 66 airframes will be returned to flight status and delivered for Finnish air force use by 2013, says Patria.

The company performed a series of flight tests with an unmodified aircraft from last September. The data collected during these sorties will support future work to verify the type's cockpit upgrade, says executive vice-president Jukka Holkeri.

 Hawk cockpit upgrade - Patria
© Patria

"The Finnish air force and Patria are together surveying possibilities to offer pilot training to foreign pilots at the Kauhava-based training centre, as well as possibilities to sell the excess Hawk trainers to foreign customers," the company says.

Patria has already held discussions with the Polish air force over a possible sale of upgraded Hawks to meet a requirement for 16 advanced jet trainers, and this proposal remains under consideration, says Holkeri.

Source: Flight International