This BAE Systems development aircraft ZJ100 has been upgraded to Advanced Hawk configuration, with combat training potential. (Photo: Neelam Mathews)
At the Aero India show in Bangalore, in collaboration with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), BAE Systems has unveiled the Advanced Hawk that it first described in the UK last June. Painted in Anglo-Indian colors, the British company’s development aircraft ZJ100 is on display at HAL’s stand, and there is also a simulator displaying the aircraft’s new capabilities. These include active leading-edge slats and combat flaps on the wings, and a large-area display in the cockpit.
“Together with HAL, we are looking forward to showing this industry-funded demonstrator to the Indian and other air forces and seeking their feedback on the combination of features that will better prepare student combat pilots for the demands of frontline aircraft,” said Stephen Timms, managing director for BAE Systems Defense Information, Training & Services. BAE describes the aircraft as “a dual-role solution for training and operations.”
A second upgraded Hawk is appearing in the flying display, this one rolled out from HAL’s Bangalore factory late last month. This blue-painted jet is the 100th of a planned total of 123 Hawk Mk132 jet trainers that HAL is license-producing for the Indian air force and navy. The aircraft that have already been delivered recently completed 100,000 flying hours.
“This is the first Hawk with a ‘Make in India’ signature,” said T. Suvarna Raju, chairman and managing director, HAL. The Indian company is calling it the “Hawk-i”. A dual-redundant mission computer and data transfer units designed and developed by HAL have been substituted for the British-supplied systems. HAL also claims that the Hawk-i’s Embedded Virtual Training System (EVTS) offers improved capability compared to the existing Hawk system.
According to BAE Systems, the Advanced Hawk also features additional engine thrust; a laser designator pod; hardpoints that are smart-weapon enabled; a dual-purpose centerline pod (weapons or luggage); air-to-air refueling; defensive aids system including a countermeasures dispenser and radar warning receiver; and a digital head-up display.
HAL maintains that the Hawk-i could reduce training demands on more expensive frontline Indian air force aircraft such as the Dassault Rafale and Sukhoi Su30MKI. High commonality with the existing Hawk production and support infrastructure in India would enable the Hawk-i to be manufactured and supported with the maximum reuse of facilities, equipment and skills, the Indian company said.