SOURCE : Arabian Aerospace

The state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL is indigenously enhancing the training and combat capability of the Hawk-i trainer jet, and is in discussions with Indian Air Force (IAF) for integration of various weapons on the aircraft.

According to HAL sources, the Hawk-i plans to integrate a AIM-132 Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missile (ASRAAM), mounted on the wingtip. The Hawk is designed to be capable of carrying up to 3 tonnes of weapons or fuel under its wings or fuselage.

Recently, in a big boost to the indigenous Hawk-i program, HAL had successfully test fired a Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from the Hawk-i aircraft. The indigenous stand-off weapon developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI), DRDO is the first smart weapon fired from an Indian Hawk-Mk132. The SAAW is an aircraft launched, advanced, precision strike weapon of 125 Kg category used to attack and destroy enemy airfield assets such as radars, bunkers, taxi tracks, runways within a range of 100 kms. SAAW has been earlier successfully test fired from Jaguar aircraft.

“HAL has been focusing on the Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India) campaign. The company-owned Hawk-i platform is being extensively used for certification of systems and weapons developed indigenously by DRDO and CSIR labs” said R. Madhavan, chairman and managing director of HAL.

The Indian Air Force is yet to sign any contract to arm its Hawk trainers. However, with the depleting fleet strength, the HAL has been proposing a low cost home-built solution to meet the budget constraints of the IAF by offering over 100 Hawk advanced jet trainers, which also can carry bombs and ammunition to counter hostile targets both in the air and land, and at a lower cost.

While these air-to-ground munitions are being tested and integrated with the Hawk fleet, the addition of ASRAAM missiles would give it an aerial combat capability, according to a HAL sources. The Hawk is designed to be capable of carrying up to 3 tonnes of weapons or fuel under its wings or fuselage.

The Hawk-i is HAL’s internally funded program offering the Indian Armed Forces an upgrade and combat capability for the Hawk, transforming it into an Advanced Jet Trainer providing training on sensors and weapons in peacetime into a potent combat platform during conflict.

The Hawk is a British single-engine, jet-powered advanced trainer aircraft first flown at Dunsfold, Surrey, in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk, and subsequently produced by its successor companies, British Aerospace, and BAE Systems. The Hawk is built under licence in India.