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Aero India 2023

BAE Systems enhances capability of South African Hawk


South Africa Hawk. A BAE Systems photo.

WARTON, (UK): BAE Systems has completed work to upgrade the navigation and weapons system for the South African Air Force’s fleet of Hawk jet trainers.

The software and hardware upgrade, jointly developed with long term South African partner Advanced Technologies and Engineering, will enable the Hawk Mk120 to share simulated radar data across multiple platforms, a company statement said.

For example, the South African Hawk Mk120 can see the same data as the South African Air Force Gripen and South African Navy Corvette frigate whilst on a training sortie.

The upgrade, known as Operational Capability 4, includes the introduction of software to simulate the use of infra-red and radar guided missiles.

The upgrade also involves the replacement of the existing analogue video recording with a digital recording capability. This means greater flexibility in analysing the data post sortie, vastly improving the quality of the debrief process for both the aircrew and ground crew.

The capability upgrade has commenced on eight aircraft based at Makhado Air Force Base, Limpopo Province, South Africa with the remainder of the Hawk Mk120 fleet due to be upgraded before the end of the year.

BAE Systems delivered 24 Hawk Mk120 Lead In Fighter Trainers to South Africa where they are operated by the South African Air Force’s 85 Combat Flying School at Air Force Base Makhado.

South Africa’s Hawks are used for training Gripen pilots and weapons officers. The Hawk aircraft have been configured so that their cockpits and systems closely resemble those on the Gripen advanced fighter.

Hawk aircraft is in operation with 18 countries worldwide and is recognised as the best trainer aircraft in its class.

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