BAE Systems has performed the first flight of its Advanced Hawk trainer, testing a series of enhancements which could equip new-build examples or be added as upgrades to in-service aircraft. The debut was performed from the company's Warton, Lancashire site on 7 June.
Key elements of the proposed evolution inside the cockpit include a large area display and the integration of BAE's LiteHUD head-up display. Externally, the main change is the use of a new wing, which the company says "increases performance in areas such as turn rate, angles of attack and both take-off and landing". It also will enable the Hawk to be operated carrying an increased range of air-launched weapons.
To support potential offensive operations, the Advanced Hawk would also gain new defensive aids system equipment.
Describing the debut as a "significant milestone in Hawk's capability upgrade", Steve Timms, BAE's managing director of defence information, training and services, says the updates are intended to give the type "the edge in fast jet pilot training, as well as offering increased operational utility".
"By using this demonstrator aircraft we have highlighted to existing users of Hawk that many of the proposed features of an Advanced Hawk, such as the large area display and new wing, could be achieved as upgrades," Timms says.
The Advanced Hawk is being developed in collaboration with India's Hindustan Aeronautics, with the partners having displayed the type for the first time at the Aero India show in Bengaluru in February 2017.
The aircraft will now undergo a series of flights to collect test data on the new key capability enhancements, BAE says.