BAE Systems and Patria have marked 40 years of service with the HAWK trainer in the Finnish Air Force. On 16 December 1980, the first HAWK aircraft arrived in Pori, Finland and began its role as the flying classroom which has prepared pilots for life in a fast jet cockpit. The first aircraft, HW-302, was flown from Dunsfold, UK to Pori by pilot Major Paavo Janhunen and engineer Major Keijo Koko. Today, the HAWK remains at the heart of the Air Force’s training pipeline with the jet also used by its display team, “The Midnight Hawks.”
Patria has delivered continual upgrades ensuring the aircraft are capable of delivering the next generation of pilots, whilst also reducing the cost of keeping the fleet flying. The upgrade work means the entire HAWK fleet, including 24 HAWKs with upgraded cockpits, will be part of the Finnish Air Force Fleet until the mid-2030s.
Paul Hitchcock, Managing Director Finland, BAE Systems, said, “The technology in [the] HAWK has delivered a seamless transition from basic training to the front-line for Air Force pilots across the globe and it is a source of immense pride for us that Finland continues to deliver its very best fast jet pilots using HAWK.
Martti Wallin, President, Aviation Business Unit, Patria, added:
“Patria’s mission is to ensure the operational readiness and mission capability of the customer fleet and at the same time enhance cost effectiveness of the training concept with the unique sustainment solution built for the aircraft.