UK to approve Hawk 128 deal
By Craig Hoyle at RAF Valley
BAE Systems says a production order for a further 26 Hawk 128 advanced jet trainers (AJT) from the UK Ministry of Defence could be signed at the Farnborough air show.
BAE’s Hawk managing director Mark Parkinson says the company is funding long-lead activities in advance of the award, and expects to deliver its first production aircraft to the Royal Air Force in the third quarter of 2008.
BAE and the MoD will have to negotiate an Operating Clearance 2 (OC2) capability package for the 128 fleet, after confirming the production deal, to add simulated radar, electronic warfare and datalink functions to the type’s basic OC0 configuration.
However, Parkinson expects the UK deal to include some funding to conduct risk-reduction activities on the enhanced standard – software-based deliveries of which are expected to start in mid-2009 or during 2010.
The UK’s future fleet of 28 Hawk AJTs – which will also include BAE’s two development aircraft – could be expanded further, once the equipment structure for its future Military Flying Training System has been established, Parkinson says.