The Indian air force's first Hawk pilots graduated from advanced pilot training on at RAF Valley on 23 May, having gone through the normal RAF advanced flying training syllabus.

India has ordered 66 BAE Systems Hawk 132s for delivery from 2007, the first to be supplied from the UK production line at Brough, the remainder to be wholly or partly manufactured by HAL.

Before India receives its own Hawks, up to 75 pilots will be trained on the aircraft in the UK. Thereafter the Hawk will serve with the flying training school at Bidar, near Hyderabad.

The retirement of the IAF's remaining PZL Iskras in December 2004 left India with a lack of training capacity for the 'Applied' Stage IIA phase of its training syllabus.

All IAF fast jet pilots train on the HAL Kiran at the Air Force Academy at Dundigal, or at Bidar, before going on to the Kiran II or the Iskra for Stage IIA. The retirement of the Iskra, which was becoming increasingly costly to support, left an urgent need for an interim training capability, and the decision was taken to provide this on the Hawk.

BAE Systems had originally anticipated undertaking this interim training of India's pilots itself, using its own pilots and five Hawk Mk53s bought back from Indonesia and refurbished for the purpose.


Source: Flight Daily News