BAE Systems Australia will continue to sustain the Royal Australian Air Force Hawk Mk127 Lead-in Fighter fleet after signing a two-year, $245 million contract.
BAE’s sustainment efforts for the fleet at RAAF Bases Williamtown and Pearce will continue until at least the end of 2022, with further “potential performance based extensions” possible.
“The performance of the team supporting this project has been pivotal to securing this contract extension,” said BAE Systems Australia aerospace and integrated systems director Steve Drury.
“We have increased the work we do to support the aircraft, in parallel with a significant upgrade of the entire Hawk fleet, and we have worked hard to reduce program costs.”
The contract will see BAE responsible for “all deeper and operational-level maintenance, logistics and the management of the Australian supply chain for the program”.
The company will also take on the role of platform steward for the Hawk, which will see them play a “critical role” in the long-term availability and capability of the aircraft.
“The Lead-in Fighter Capability Assurance Program upgrade ensures the aircraft is suitable for a fifth-generation air force, preparing pilots for fast jets including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and now the commercial model supporting the capability is appropriately contemporary, and aligned to the Commonwealth government’s defence industry strategy,” said Drury.
The Hawk is the most advanced and successful jet trainer aircraft available with over 20,000 pilots prepared throughout 18 countries using the platform.
Student pilots can be put in control of combat aircraft, such as the F-35, using advanced airborne simulation technology, with the Hawk described as a “flying classroom”, “delivering a seamless transition to the front line at a fraction of the through-life cost of its competitors”.
The aircraft are operated by No. 76 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown and No. 79 Squadron at RAAF Base Pearce.