Bangalore, Aug 14 (UNI) The HAWK Mk132 advanced jet trainer, built by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was today handed over to the Indian Air Force.
India had placed an order to buy 66 Hawks in 2004, with 24 of them to be delivered directly by its manufacturer BAE Systems of England, while the rest would be built by the city-based unit of the HAL. BAE has already supplied 14 such aircraft which are stationed at the Air Force Station at Bidar in Karnataka.
Speaking after receiving the aircraft at the HAL airport here from HAL Chairman Ashok K Baweja, Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Fali H Major said a long standing desire of the Air Force to have a high end jet trainer had been fulfilled.
The HAL-built Hawk would now be flown directly to Bidar air base and added to the fleet of other jet trainers, he said.
The induction of Hawk trainer enabled us to shift from sub sonic to super sonic jet training. From HPT-32 to Kiran and MIG-21, which was 'less than a satisfactory' arrangement and we were always looking for a suitable operational and transitional aircraft to introduce our pilots to the complexities of combat flying. Hawk would help IAF to provide a smooth transition from a jet trainer to state-of-the-art fighters of the IAF, he said.
Earlier, HAL Chief Test Pilot Sqn Ldr (Rtd) Baldev Singh gave a breathtaking display of the HAL-built Hawk on an overcast and windy day as he flew in and out of the clouds in both vertical and horizontal positions.
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