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UK to report on Hawk T2 replacement plans

Seen on the flightline at RAF Valley in Wales, the Hawk T2 is due to be retired from UK service in 2024. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is weighing how to deliver pilot training after its planned retirement of the BAE Systems Hawk T2 (Mk 128) aircraft in 2040, with options to be presented later in 2024.

Answering questions in the House of Commons on 15 March, Minister of State at the MoD James Cartlidge said the Royal Air Force (RAF) had started its post-Hawk analysis, with several options for the continuation of pilot training being considered ahead of the finding's being presented later this year.

โ€œThe RAF has already started its standard capability investigation process into the future of combat aircrew training. This comprehensive review will include the approach to the procurement of the replacement of the current [Hawk T2] advanced jet trainer capability. The investigation will consider options for aircraft, simulators, and associated combined live/virtual training,โ€ Cartlidge said. โ€œThe capability investigation's findings are expected later this year, and will provide evidence on likely costs and timing of the replacement training solution to the Hawk T2,โ€ he added.

The RAF operates 28 Hawk T2 jets to train both its own and the Royal Navy's (RN's) fast jet pilots at RAF Valley in Wales, with the type having entered service in 2009. The type is used specifically for the Advanced Fast Jet Training (AFJT) programme, which sits outside the scope of the UK Military Flight Training System (UKMFTS) programme contracted to Ascent.

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