The Indian air force’s high-profile presence at this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo includes a debut public appearance for one of its eventual fleet of 66 BAE Systems Hawk 132 advanced jet trainers. Appearing in the show’s static display and carrying the tail number A3483, the AJT was the first of India’s Hawks to fly in service markings when it conducted its debut sortie from BAE’s Warton site in Lancashire in mid-April.

Deliveries of the Hawk AJT fleet will commence in September, with India having recently signed for the interim acceptance of six UK-built aircraft to support its instructor pilot and ground technician training requirements. Twelve instructors will fly 15 sorties each from Warton after performing initial conversion work on synthetic training devices at the Royal Air Force’s Valley airbase in north Wales.

Hawk 132

“Interim acceptance represents the Indian air force agreeing that the aircraft produced meets the standard required,” says Dave Corfield, BAE’s Hawk project director, India. “It is a major step forward for the programme.”

Several test pilots from Hindustan Aeronautics will also undergo the training course from later this month, with the Indian firm to e responsible for completing the nation’s remaining 42 Hawks.

The UK has already provided extensive training services to New Delhi as part of its AJT acquisition, with 50 Indian air force pilots having completed training at RAF Valley using the UK’s current Hawk T1/1A inventory. A further 25 students will pass through the system by May 2008.

Source: Flight International