BAE Hawk

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BAE Hawk

BAE Hawk T.1 trainer
RoleAdvanced trainer, ground attack and light fighter
First flight21 August 1974
Entered service1976
ManufacturerBAE Systems
Length39 ft 2 in11.96 m
Wingspan30 ft 9.75 in9.39 m
Height13 ft 1 in4.0 m
Wing area179.60 ft²16.69 m²
Empty8,040 lb3,647 kg
Loaded11,100 lb5,035 kg
Maximum takeoff12,566 lb5,700 kg
Engines1 x Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca Adour Mk 151 turbofan
Thrust5,200 lbf23 kN
Maximum speed645 mph1,038 km/h
Combat range miles km
Ferry range1,923 miles3,094 km
Service ceiling50,000 ft12,240 m
Rate of climb9,300 ft/min2,835 m/min
GunsOption of one 30 mm ADEN cannon in centreline gun pod
BombsUp to 6,800 lb (3,085 kg) of weapons on five hardpoints; T.1 normally 1,500 lb (680 kg) on centreline and two wing pylons
MissilesOption of two AIM-9 Sidewinder or ASRAAM on wing pylons

The BAE Hawk is an advanced jet trainer manufactured by BAE Systems and used by the Royal Air Force and other countries.



In 1964 the Royal Air Force specified a requirement for a new initial jet trainer to replace the Folland Gnat. The SEPECAT Jaguar was originally intended for this role, but it was soon realised that it would be too complex an aircraft for initial jet training. Accordingly, in 1968 Hawker Siddeley Aviation began the design of a much simpler strictly subsonic trainer, the HS.1182. It was to have tandem seating and would be capable of carrying armaments, which would enable it to be used as a weapons trainer and in light combat roles.

Renamed "Hawk" in 1973, the aircraft first flew in 1974. It entered RAF service in April 1976, replacing the Gnat and Hawker Hunter in the advanced training and weapons training roles respectively. The most famous RAF operator is the Red Arrows aerobatic team, which adopted the plane in 1979. The Hawk has excellent maneuverability, and while it is not capable of supersonic speed in level flight, it can attain Mach 1.2 in a dive, allowing trainees to experience transsonic handling without the cost of a supersonic trainer.

The Hawk subsequently replaced the English Electric Canberra in the target towing role. The Royal Navy acquired a dozen Hawk T.Mk 1/1As from the RAF, for use as aerial targets for the training of ships gunners and radar operators.


Hawk T.1/T.1A

The T.1 was the original version used by the RAF, deliveries commencing in November 1976. The UK ordered 176 T1s.

From 1983 to 1986, some Hawks were equipped for the short-range interception role. 88 T.1s were modified to carry two AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles in addition to the centerline gun pod for a single 30mm ADEN cannon. These aircraft were designated T.1A. In the event of war, they would have worked in collaboration with Tornado F.3 aircraft, which would use their Foxhunter search radars to vector the radarless Hawks against enemy targets. Such missions would have been flown by instructor pilots. Conversions were completed in 1986. With the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, RAF Hawks are no longer tasked with this role.

80 T.1s are being upgraded under the Fuselage Replacement Programme (FRP), which involves the replacement of the aft centre and rear fuselage sections, using new build sections derived from the Mk. 60.

Hawk 50

The Hawk 50 was the original export trainer version, from which the T-45 Goshawk was derived. The Mk.50 offered a limited attack capability. Finland, Indonesia and Kenya ordered 89 of this variant.

Hawk 60

Another export version, replacing the Hawk 50, intended for conversion and weapons training. Weapons carriage is increased. It is a two-seater, has uprated Rolls-Royce Adour 861 engines and is capable of a level speed at altitude of 555 knots (1028 km/h) or Mach 0.84.

Hawk 100

A two-seat advanced weapons trainer with additional avionics, including forward looking infrared, a redesigned wing and HOTAS.

Hawk 120/LIFT

Missing image
South African Air Force Hawk Mk.120

The Hawk Lead In Fighter Trainer (LIFT) is the version selected by the South African Air Force in December 1999. This variant is powered by the Adour 951. The LIFT benefits from development carried out for the Australian Mk.127. The next generation Hawks (120, 127 and 128) feature a new wing, forward and centre fuselage, fin and tailplane. The aircraft have only 10% commonality with the existing first generation aircraft. The new variants also have four times the fatigue life of the original aircraft. 24 aircraft will be delivered.

Hawk 127

Missing image
Hawk 127 of No. 76 Squadron RAAF in special "cougar" colour scheme.

33 Hawk 127 Lead in Fighters (LIFs) were ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force in June 1997. The RAAF ordered 33 aircraft, 12 of which were produced in the UK and 21 in Australia. This variant is also powered by the Adour 871. The Hawk 127 is operated by No. 76 (New South Wales) and No. 79 (Western Australia) Squadrons of the RAAF.

Hawk 128

The Hawk 128 is the new Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) for the RAF and Royal Navy. The Mk.128 includes modern CRT displays instead of conventional instrumentation, and allows preparation for flying modern fighter aircraft, particularly the all "glass" Typhoon. It has Rolls-Royce Adour 951 engines. BAE funded development of the 128, building on the design of the Australian Mk.127 and the South African Mk.120s. The MoD have ordered 20 aircraft with an option for 24 more.

Hawk 132

The latest export variant of the Hawk (previously described as the Mk.115Y). The Mk.132 is destined to enter service with the Indian Air Force (IAF) after one of the most protracted procurement processes in history, with two decades having elapsed between the initial interest and the contract signing on March 26 2004. The IAF will receive 24 aircraft directly from BAE Systems starting in 2007 and another 42 will be assembled by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. during 2008-10. The Indian Navy is also likely to order a small number. Further orders will be a function of how quickly India is able to develop the Combat Air Trainer, a twin-engined trainer derived from the HJT-36 Sitara, whose model was displayed at the Aero India 2005 air show in February 2005.

Hawk 200

The Mk.200 is a single seat, lightweight multi-role combat aircraft for air defence and ground attack missions. It has Rolls-Royce Adour 871 engines. This variant provides a low cost but effective multi-role aircraft. Indonesia, Malaysia and Oman have ordered 62 aircraft. BAE Systems flies a Mk.200 in the demonstator role.

A T-45 Goshawk landing aboard the USS Harry S. Truman
A T-45 Goshawk landing aboard the USS Harry S. Truman

T-45 Goshawk

A fully carrier-capable version of the Hawk Mk.50 was developed for the United States Navy for use in training. This version is known as the T-45 Goshawk. It first flew in 1989 and became operational in 1991. Several modifications were required by the Navy for carrier operations, including improvements to the low-speed handling characteristics and a reduction in the approach speed. The Goshawk was manufactured originally by McDonnell Douglas and later by Boeing.


The China-Pakistan K-8 is a copy of Hawk.


The stepped cockpit, allowing the instructor in the rear seat a good forward view, was an innovation adopted by other training aircraft.


Units using the Hawk

  • Royal Air Force
    • No. 100 Squadron
    • No. 4 Flying Training School (No. 19(R) Squadron & No. 208(R) Squadron)
    • RAF Aerobatic Team
  • Royal Navy
    • Fleet Requirements Air Direction Unit (FRADU)
  • Royal Australian Air Force
  • Finnish Air Force
  • Kenyan Air Force
  • Saudi Arabian Air Force
  • South African Air Force
  • South Korean Air Force
  • Swiss Air Force

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