Royal Air Force opens new Hawk maintainer facility
The Royal Air Force (RAF) has opened a new £1 million (US$1.2 million) training facility to train ground crew maintainers for the service’s Hawk trainer aircraft fleet.
Hawk manufacturer BAE Systems and the RAF have transformed a bay previously used for engine maintenance at the station into a facility. The training centre has been set out to equip Babcock International apprentices with the skills to support ejection seat training for pilots at the station.
BAE Systems and Babcock have been responsible for providing availability support to the Hawk T2 fleet based at RAF Valley.
‘This investment by the RAF and BAE Systems underlines our long-term commitment to Anglesey and will ensure we continue to deliver a pipeline of talented young people, many of whom are from the island, to support the Hawk fleet for generations to come,’ said RAF Valley station commander Group Captain Matt Hoare.
The facility has formed part of an 11-year contract awarded to BAE Systems and Babcock in April 2022 which will see the two companies deliver maintenance and operation support to the RAF’s Hawk TMk2 fleet, ensuring jets are made available to train student pilots for the Eurofighter Typhoon, F-35 and future combat aircraft. The contract also covered the provision of depth maintenance to the RAF’s aerobatic display team, the Red Arrows, which flies the Hawk TMk1 aircraft.
The RAF Hawk T2 fast jet training aircraft’s Rolls-Royce engine has experienced technical issues which were expected to reduce the force’s training pipeline capacity over the coming years. BAE Systems has remained tight-lipped on potential upgrades or changes to the jet's engine.
In a bid to mitigate disruption to fast jet training, the UK has decided to begin using the International Flight Training School (IFTS) in Italy. The IFTS, a collaborative effort between the Italian Air Force and Leonardo, has served as a global hub for advanced military pilot training. The school has catered to air forces from around the world, providing training for pilots operating various fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft such as the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35.
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