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RAF Pumps Over $900M in Its Advanced Jet Trainer Aircraft for the Following Decade

Although they may not take center stage like fighter jets and bombers, trainer aircraft and aerobatic aircraft play an important part for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF). So much so that they will benefit from a £695 million ($912 million) investment over a period of 11 years.
The Hawk T2 aircraft provide an advanced platform for training future RAF pilots 6 photos
Hawk T2Hawk T2The Red ArrowsThe Red ArrowsThe Red Arrows
Before RAF pilots can properly handle beasts such as the F-35B Lightning and Typhoon fighter jets, they need to practice on fighter jets that are just as powerful. A fleet of 28 Hawk TMk2 Advanced Jet Trainers made by BAE Systems is based in Anglesey, North Wales, ready to operate as part of the UK Military Flying Training System (UK MFTS).

Through this investment, we will continue to train our student pilots to become the best in the business,” said Air Vice-Marshal Ellard, Director Combat Air at DE&S (the Ministry of Defense's procurement arm Defense Equipment and Support). Not just the Hawk T2 training aircraft but also the Hawk T1 aircraft that are flown by RAF’s Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, will benefit from in-service support through this investment.

The main contract was awarded to BAE Systems for extensive Hawk T2 airframe support, and a second contract was signed with Rolls-Royce for engine support. Rolls-Royce was the one who developed, together with Safran, the Adour Mk951 engine that powers both the trainer jets and the aerobatic aircraft used by RAF. Described as a twin-spool, counter-rotating turbofan, the Adour can deliver a maximum thrust of 8,000 lb.

The Hawk T2 combines a glass cockpit with advanced avionics for fast jet training. It can simulate functions of modern fighters, as well as complex scenarios such as electronic warfare operations or air-to-ground “weapon drops.” Before the Hawk T2 entered service, the T1 acted as RAF’s fast jet trainer. It was then fitted with a smoke generation system, and its engine controls were modified for an enhanced throttle response before joining the Red Arrows.

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