The tour and briefing at the company’s Williamtown facility complements a visit to RAAF Base Williamtown and supports the organisation’s Women in Aviation conference being held in the Hunter Valley (28-30 September).
BAE Systems provides total logistics support for the RAAF’s Hawk Lead-In Fighter fleet, including all maintenance at RAAF Bases Williamtown and Pearce. The company is currently upgrading the entire squadron of 33 Hawk aircraft, which is on track for completion in 2019.
"We are proud to support and engage with such a dynamic and motivated group representing industry and defence," said BAE Systems Australia Aerospace and Integrated Systems Director Steve Drury.
The Hawk 127 prepares qualified Air Force pilots for conversion to F/A-18A and F/A-18B Hornets and F/A-18F Super Hornets. The Hawk is operated by Number 76 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown near Newcastle, and Number 79 Squadron at RAAF Base Pearce near Perth.
Pilots complete a 14-week Introductory Fighter Course at RAAF Base Pearce with the Hawk, which includes general flying, instrument flying, formation flying, night flying and navigation.
Graduates then progress to a 20-week course at RAAF Base Williamtown for air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons training with the Hawk. Only then can pilots progress to conversion to the F/A-18A/B Hornet or F/A-18F Super Hornet.
The Hawk has been designed to allow for system upgrades to reflect evolving training requirements. Students attend major exercises such as Exercise Pitch Black in the Northern Territory as part of their training.
In early 2015, the US government assigned BAE Systems Australia (Williamtown) the regional F-35 airframe depot maintenance responsibility for the south Asia-Pacific region. In August 2017, BAE Systems Australia was also assigned the regional warehouse responsibility for the Asia-Pacific region.
BAE Systems Australia is also working to advance the next generation of employees into the business through its partnerships with government and academia in the Hunter Valley.
Australian industry regional depot maintenance responsibility for 64 of the first 65 aircraft components (Tier 1) was assigned by the US government to BAE Systems, GE Aviation, Northrop Grumman and RUAG in November 2016.
Women in Aviation, International (WAI) Australian Chapter is a national, volunteer-run, not-for-profit organisation established to providing networking, education, mentoring and scholarship opportunities for young girls and women who are striving for challenging and fulfilling careers in the aviation and aerospace industries.
WAI is dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of women in all aviation and aerospace career fields and interests. Its 12,000+ diverse global membership includes aerospace engineers, astronauts, fixed and rotary pilots, maintenance technicians, air traffic controllers, business owners, educators, journalists, flight attendants, high school and university students, air show performers, airport and airline managers and policy-makers.