The defence firm BAE Systems is currently involved in discussions with India's Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (abbreviated - 'HAL') on the possibility of a cooperative venture, under which terms the highly successful Hawk jet trainer design would be locally manufactured for worldwide export.
BAE Hawk Used By Air Forces Worldwide
The Hawk is used by a number of air forces around the world, including the Royal Air Force and Royal Saudi Air Force - both of which employ the type to equip their national aerobatic teams (the Red Arrows, and the Saudi Hawks respectively). It is already manufactured through an agreement between BAE and HAL.
Now, however, it is understood that the two firms are assessing the feasibility of increasing the level of Hawk production in India, potentially leading to the Indian firm becoming a prominent manufacturer with the rights to export.
Full details on the scope of the tie-up are not yet known, but are thought to include overhaul and maintenance agreements.
Indian Navy Trainer Search Could Propel Hawk Talks
Initial discussions are likely to be bolstered by the Indian Navy's current search for a new trainer to join its ranks. The talks, however, are at a preliminary level at this stage, and could end inconclusively.
A spokesman from BAE decline to provide commentary on what, in his terms, was "market speculation."
BAE/HAL Hawk Agreement Would Extend 20+ Yr Legacy
Should an agreement between BAE and HAL be forged, it would build on a relationship that first began over twenty years ago when, in a venture comparable to the present Hawk alliance, British/French Jaguar aircraft began to be manufactured in India. The export factor, however, would make this new deal an unprecedented one; in the 1990s, BAE denied India the rights to export the Jaguar to Bahrain.
In excess of 900 Hawks have been sold since the aircraft's first flight over 30 years ago. Over 200 of these were to America where, in modified form, it serves with the US Navy as the T-45 Goshawk.
As an advanced jet trainer, the Hawk bridges the gap between the propeller-driven training types first flown by the student pilot and more complex combat jets.
Source - Armed Forces International's Aviation Expert
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