Indian Navy's First AJT Inducted

Four aircraft have been delivered to the Navy, marking the beginning of 17th such fighter trainers to be acquired over the next few years

Issue: 5 / 2013Photo(s): By Indian Navy

The Indian Navy has inducted the first Hawk 132, a fourth-generation advanced jet trainer (AJT) aircraft, on November 6, 2013, at an impressive ceremony held at Naval Air Station INS Dega. Admiral D.K. Joshi, Chief of the Naval Staff, who was the chief guest at the event, inducted the aircraft in the presence of Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command. The ceremony was attended by various Flag Officers and senior officers of the Navy. The industry was represented by Dr R.K. Tyagi, Chairman of the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), and senior management from HAL; representatives of British Aerospace (BAE) and Rolls-Royce. The aircraft is licensed to be built by HAL, Bengaluru, with transfer of technology (ToT) from BAE UK. Four aircraft have been delivered to the Navy, marking the beginning of 17th such fighter trainers to be acquired over the next few years. Fighter training is carried out in three phases i.e. basic, intermediate and advanced. The induction of this highly capable aircraft will provide the much needed fillip to the training of combat pilots in the Navy by bridging the gap between basic flying training and advanced fighter flying. The Hawk will provide the ab initio naval pilots with an ideal platform to hone their skills before they graduate to flying high performance aircraft and carrier based fighter jets, thereby making them available operationally in a shorter span of time.

Speaking on the occasion, Admiral Joshi hailed the efforts made by HAL and said that the Navy looks forward to increased participation from the defence public sector undertaking (DPSU). “We are proud of Indian manufactured products and it is evident from the fact that HAL made aircraft such as Vampire and Kiran are with us for decades,” he added. Saluting the sea warriors, Dr Tyagi, said that the company remains committed to serve the country and its defence forces in every possible way. “Our support is not only for Hawk but for all platforms of Indian Navy,” he assured. The highlight of the day was the ceremonial fly-past by various aircraft of Indian Navy such as Chetaks, Dornier, Kamov, etc followed by exhilarating display of Hawks. The induction also heralds a new beginning for INS Dega as well, since jet aircraft would be based here for the first time. While an array of maritime reconnaissance aircraft and helicopters operate from this premier Naval Air Station on the Eastern seaboard, this will be the first time that a fighter squadron will be based here, leading to a quantum jump in its operational capability.

Contractual Details

The contract to acquire Hawk (AJT) 132 was signed on March 26, 2004, and it formally entered service with the Indian Air Force (IAF) on February 23, 2008. IAF received 24 aircraft directly from BAE Systems with deliveries beginning in November 2007 and further 42 Hawks were assembled by HAL between 2008 and 2011. All 66 Hawks have been received by the IAF. In February 2008, India ordered 57 additional Hawks, with 40 for the IAF and 17 for the Navy. These are being built by HAL under licence from BAE.

Hawk AJT 132

The Hawk AJT is a dual-seat multi-purpose trainer aircraft which can also be used as a ground attack aircraft or for air defence. At the centre of an integrated training system, Hawk AJT features the very latest in advanced simulation for radar, weapons and defensive aids training. In-flight simulation of sensors, state-of-the-art pilot-vehicle interface, and the ability to use simulated weapons provides pilots with a realistic environment for training. Hawk 132 is equipped with advanced and reliable navigation systems and the capability to deploy an impressive array of weaponry including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground rockets, bombs and guns. It can also carry two extra fuel tanks under the wing, which extend its considerable strike range further. The hands-on throttle and stick (HOTAS) system on the control column and throttle allows the pilot to make weapon selections without moving his hands from the controls. The Hawk 132 is a proven aircraft operating with many air forces around the world.