Feb 24, 2015
BAE Systems in talks to weaponise India's Hawks
The IAF is evaluating the feasibility of integrating its largely licence-built Hawk Mk 132s with a range of weapon systems that are fitted onto its SEPECAT Jaguar fighters.
This includes MBDA's Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles, Rafael Litening targeting pods, and a range of smart weapons.
By 2016-17 the IAF will operate 106 Hawks and the Indian Navy another 17, making India the largest operator of the type. The IAF plans to acquire another 20 Hawks for its aerobatics team, disbanded in February 2011 after its HAL-built Surya Kiran HJT-16 Mk I and Mk II aircraft were diverted to train fighter pilots.
IAF fighter pilots begin their instruction on Pilatus PC-7 Mk II tandem-seat basic turboprop trainers for 55 hours before moving onto the Kiran HJT-16 Mk I and Mk II intermediate jet trainers for another 70 hours. Thereafter, they graduate to Hawk Mk 132s for two 'semesters' of 135 hours before going on to operate fighters.