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BAE Systems wins Australian Hawk upgrade deal

BAE Systems has won a contract to continue support for 33 Royal Australian Air Force Hawk Mk 127 lead-in fighter aircraft (pictured). (BAE Systems)

BAE Systems Australia has secured a AUD1.5 billion (USD1 billion) contract to extend in-service support for the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF's) fleet of Hawk Mk 127 lead-in fighter aircraft.

The contract will run for 10 years, continuing BAE Systems' support for the platform it built for the RAAF and delivered from the early 2000s.

“The contract will … progressively update the performance of the fast-jet combat training aircraft until 2032,” the Department of Defence (DoD) in Canberra said.

The deal covers the provision of sustainment and supply-chain services, upgrades to the Hawk's software and hardware, and engineering support. BAE Systems Australia said the programme will also be the “foundation for progressive upgrades of mission systems”.

In addition, the contract facilitates the integration onto the RAAF aircraft of Rolls-Royce's Mk 951 Adour engine from 2025, aligning the platform with the UK Royal Air Force's T2 Hawk aircraft.

BAE Systems Australia said it will lead the upgrade project, with support provided by BAE Systems UK Hawk aircraft specialists. The company added that the commonality of the Australian and UK Hawk fleets enhances opportunities for future collaboration and reduced costs.

The new deal extends a two-year AUD245 million Hawk sustainment contract won by BAE Systems Australia in 2019. This project included deeper and operational-level maintenance, logistics, and the management of the Australian supply chain.

Another major Hawk sustainment programme was awarded to BAE Systems in 2013, with the upgrades intended for better preparing fast-jet pilots for the RAAF's F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and other next-generation aircraft.

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