Air Platforms

Royal Canadian Air Force performing Hawk trainer fatigue-life improvement programme

24 October 2018

A RCAF CT-115 Hawk AJT as seen in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Source: IHS Markit/Pat Host

Key Points

  • The RCAF is performing a fatigue-life improvement programme on its fleet of Hawk trainers
  • The service puts a lot of stress on the aircraft, especially on the tail and the wing/fuselage joint

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is performing a series of modifications to its fleet of BAE Systems Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers (AJTs), which could extend the platform's life by 35%.

Scott Greenough, Director of NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) at CAE, told reporters on 17 October that the Hawk Fatigue Life Improvement Program (FLIP) - a series of 13 modifications made to each aircraft in the fleet - costs as much as a new Hawk aircraft. He said the RCAF disassembles the aircraft to a point similar to when they were first assembled.

The service is focusing on the tail and where the wings meet the fuselage, as the Hawk's tail is heavily affected by fatigue, he said. The RCAF is just over halfway through this part of the programme.

"Try not to look in the mirrors when you're turning hard because the tail is kind of moving around quite a bit in the back there," said Greenough, describing the advice he would give to pilots flying the aircraft.

The RCAF uses the Hawk Mk 115 model, which it calls the CT-115. CAE spokesman Chris Stellwag said on 23 October that the company is performing the FLIP work and that BAE Systems is working with CAE on in-service support for the Hawk fleet. According to Jane's All the World's Aircraft , Canada acquired its fleet of Hawks between July 2000 and August 2004.

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