State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with BAE Systems for upgrading the Indian Air Force’s Hawk Mk.132 advanced jet trainers (AJTs), development of combat Hawks for Indian and export markets, and maintenance solutions for supporting the IAF’s Jaguar and Hawk fleets, says HAL Chairman T. Suvarna Raju.

The Hawk Mk. 132, which is equipped with inertial navigation and global positioning systems, head-up display and hands-on throttle and stick controls, has the capability to be used as a ground attack aircraft as well as for air defense, says HAL. It is being developed under license from BAE, which initially secured an order in March 2004 for 66 trainers for the IAF, including 24 off-the-shelf from its UK facility and the remaining 42 from HAL. The first HAL-built aircraft was handed over in August 2008. HAL and BAE inked another deal to manufacture 40 more Hawks for the IAF in July 2010. Of these, HAL has so far produced 25 and will be completing deliveries by 2016-17.

Another contract was signed between the Indian Navy and HAL in July 2010 for 17 Hawk AJTs and associated equipment, of which 11 have been produced and all will have been delivered by 2016-17.

HAL Chairman Raju says, “It is important for both sides to soon finalize the scope of the Hawk Mk. 132 upgrades and other work packages under the MoU agreement at the earliest.”