The first BAE Systems Hawk advanced jet trainer (AJT), specifically tailored to meet the requirements of the Indian Air Force, took to the skies for its maiden flight at Warton in the UK. Designated HT001, it is the first of 66 Hawk AJTs that are being built for the IAF.
The first 24 aircraft are being built by BAE Systems with the remaining 42 being manufactured under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The defence and aerospace company has already shipped fuselages of additional aircraft that will be assembled by HAL in India.
An official release states that the company will also be delivering over 1,500 tonnes of raw material, 3,500 tools and around 15 million components to HAL. It is also providing training to the IAF pilots at RAF Valley in Wales and so far 40 pilots have successfully undergone this training.
The first IAF Hawk aircraft will be delivered to India in September 2007 following a period of flight testing in the UK. India had signed a contract with BAE Systems in March 2004 for the purchase of 66 Hawk aircraft and ground based training systems.