Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR July-Aug 2017 Contents 10 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter JULY/AUG 2017
BAE SYSTEMS’ UPGRADED HAWKS
TAKE TO THE SKY
– 5 July2017–
The first cohort from 79 Squadron at RAAF Base
Pearce has commenced training, taking advantage of
enhanced training capabilities which make the RAAF’s
fleet amongst the most advanced in the world.
Each upgraded Hawk provides new training
capabilities including simulated radar, electronic
warfare, digital mapping, ground proximity warning
system and traffic collision avoidance. The upgrade
also includes the replacement of two legacy synthetic
training devices with three full mission simulators
provided by CAE.
The upgrade of the Australian Hawk fleet is delivering
an enhanced training capability to prepare pilots for
life in the cockpit of fast jet aircraft including F/A-18
A/B Classic Hornets, F/A-18F Super Hornets, EA-18G
Growlers and, when introduced into service in late
2018, the F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters.
The Initial Operating Capability for the Lead-In Fighter
Capability Assurance Program (LIFCAP) was recognised
at a ceremony at RAAF Base Williamtown today.
BAE Systems’ engineering teams in Australia
and the UK, together with CAE and Cubic Defense
Applications Inc, have worked closely with the
Commonwealth to deliver this enhanced capability.
A joint team of BAE Systems and RAAF technicians
has already completed the upgrade of 12 of the 33
fleet of aircraft. Once modified, all 33 aircraft will be
almost identical to the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer
(AJT) of the UK’s Royal Air Force.
BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive, Glynn
Phillips said: “The upgraded BAE Systems Hawk aircraft
provides the RAAF with a leading edge capability and,
coupled with the CAE full mission simulators, delivers
a highly impressive Lead-In Fighter Training System
(LIFTS) that will ensure Hawk retains its effectiveness
into the next decade and beyond.
“The upgrade brings the RAAF Hawk up to the
same platform capability as the most modern Hawk
aircraft around the globe; allowing for future shared
development and potentially shared cost, across
Acting Commander Air Combat Group, Group
Captain Robert Denney said: “The Initial Operating
Capability for the Lead-In Fighter Capability Assurance
Program (LIFCAP) represented an important milestone
in developing Air Combat capability and was essential
for providing the quality and quantity of pilots and air
combat officers for the Air Force.
“The LIFCAP introduces a major avionics upgrade
to the Hawk 127 Lead-In Fighter, three advanced full
mission simulators and operational support systems
which will ensure that the Lead-In Fighter Training
System (LIFTS) is capable of producing sufficient,
suitably trained aircrew to operate F/A-18F Super
Hornet, EA-18G Growler and F-35A Joint Strike
“A mid-life upgrade to the Hawk was necessary
to ensure its continued viability, to decrease risk to
operational conversion output and to provide the LIFTS
with adaptability to support the training requirements
associated with the new platforms.”
The upgrade of the aircraft has included full ground
testing and developmental flight clearance by a joint
RAAF/BAE Systems team.
The Hawk aircraft fleet embodiment upgrade started
in 2014 at BAE Systems Australia at its Fast Jet facility
at Williamtown, NSW and the fleet upgrade will be
completed by early 2019.
ROYAL NAVY’S LATEST WARSHIPS
TO BE EQUIPPED WITH THALES
Thales announces a major boost for jobs and
investment in the maritime industry with the news that it
has been awarded a contract by BAE Systems to supply
its anti-submarine warfare sonar for the Royal Navy’s
new Type 26 frigates.
The announcement to equip the first three ships helps
secure around 70 jobs across Thales and its supply
chain. The main manufacturing and maintenance work
will be carried out across Thales sites in Manchester,
UK and Brest in France.
“We are pleased to be able to announce this contract
with BAE Systems which re-affirms our market position
as a world class provider of anti-submarine warfare
sensors and systems. It’s fantastic news to see
our Sonar 2087 variable depth sonar deployed on
the Type 26 platform based on the pedigree of the
in-service equipment on the Type 23 and the latest
inboard processing to provide an enduring capability
for the Royal Navy.”
Phil Jones, Head of maritime missions systems
A number of UK-based specialist technology
companies are also involved in the supply chain for the
Type 26 programme, including the supply of inboard
hardware cabinets from AISH Technologies in Dorset
and Aero Stanrew in Devon.
Currently, Thales UK’s maritime business employs
300 employees at Cheadle Heath and a further 450
at Templecombe. The business manufactures highly-
complex sonar systems for a variety of platforms,
including ships, submarines and helicopters for the
Royal Navy and a number of international fleets.
The Type 26 will be capable of undertaking
a range of roles from anti-submarine warfare
operations and humanitarian assistance. The
programme is set to continue into 2026 with a five
further ships anticipated to be built.
Thales is the current provider of anti-submarine
sonar to the serving Type 23 frigate fleet. This latest
announcement firmly establishes Thales’ position as the
key sensor provider to the Royal Navy across its sonar,
electronic warfare, optronics and communications
capabilities. This allows Thales to leverage common
technologies and architecture to provide benefits across
all Defence Lines of Development.
Sonar 2087 is a sophisticated towed array system,
which enables warships to hunt submarines at
considerable distances and detect them beyond the
range from which they can launch an attack.
The Royal Navy currently operates its Type 23
frigates with Merlin helicopters fitted with Thales FLASH-
dipping sonar which can be used to pinpoint the
submarine from the air. The Navy has described the
combination of 2087 and FLASH as ‘world beating’.
A No 79 Squadron Hawk 127.
Credit: CoA / Colin Dadd
Illustration of possible Australian configuration of Type 26
Credit: BAE Systems
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