The Hawk T2 Advanced jet Trainer – a Flying Simulator

The BAE Hawk is one of those British success stories that doesn’t get a lot of attention, despite it being in service with just under 20 nations and nearly a thousand produced.

The latest variant is the T2 that is virtually a new aircraft, with the avionics package being of particular note.

From the RAF’s web site

Gone are the cockpit dials and switches of the T1. In their place are three, full colour, multi-function displays similar to those used by modern fighters such as Typhoon. These can be used to display navigation, weapon and systems information. The cockpit has new lighting fully compatible with the use of night-vision goggles for night operations. The aircraft’s head-up display (HUD) has been updated to use symbols and data used in more current combat aircraft. Other changes include ‘Hands-On-Throttle-And-Stick’ (HOTAS) controls which are fully representative of front line combat aircraft types, and twin Open Architecture mission computers hosting simulations of a wide range of sensor and weapon systems as well as a full featured IN/GPS navigation system with moving map display.

The really clever thing is the displays can be set to emulate a number of different aircraft which means they can be used to largely replace traditional two seat fighter trainers, the F35 for example, will not be produced in a two seat version and combining advanced aircraft like the T2 with high fidelity synthetic environment trainers means advanced conversion training can be delivered at a much lower cost.

The T2’s ‘radar system’ can also be used to inject realistic returns from target aircraft and these features have led many to characterise the T2 and a classroom in the sky, although in comparison with the older models, it will not carry a gun pod or any stores, releases being ‘simulated’

The RAF has 28 T2’s in service equipped with the latest ‘Operational Capability 2’ software operating from RAF Valley in Anglesey.

The approach has been to offload some of the training syllabus from the Operational Conversion Units which allows students to have more time of key subjects at the OCU.

Many had though that the Hawk was reaching the end of its export life, eclipsed by the newer Aermacchi M-346 and Korean T/A-50 but the UK has been pushing the T2 for F35 training and is said to be quite advanced, this makes for an interesting future in the export market. The USAF need to replace their T-38 Talons and despite the programme contract award being delayed to 2016 with IOC in 2020. The T-X programme calls for between 300 and 350 aircraft but BAE face tough competition, Lockheed Martin are offering the KAI T-50 Golden Hawk, the Alenia Aeronautica T-100 (a locally produced M-346) and Boeing with a new design.

The ‘buy American’ influence will be large and the heritage of the M-346 i.e. it is a Westernised Yak 130 will weigh heavily.

The Hawk is perhaps the lowest risk offering with potentially some commonality with the USN Goshawks, although these are made by Boeing. There has even been discussions about relifing the T38’s and fitting with the same EJ200 engine as on the Typhoon.

The T-X has been overshadowed by the F35 but it is an important programme and given the likely pairing of T-X and F35 it has long term strategic implications for the winner and losers.

The question is, can the software and land based training system integration of the T2 overcome its aerodynamic limitations in comparison with the larger T50 and M346 (or whatever new design might emerge)

As the RAF and its contractor partners progress with the T2 and F35 integration, interesting times ahead.

Anyway, some nice pictures

Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer 01 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer

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October 14, 2012 7:16 pm

Just to be pedantic the T2 does not actually have a radar, but it can simulate one through those advanced “synthetic training” modes of its avionics suite.

October 14, 2012 7:29 pm


A nice area to focus on. Nearly a 1000 a/c built and still selling in no small part to 9 red ones maybe bae could loan us some new ones painted in red. I think we should consider an additional purchase of some of these hawks for 100 sqn at leeming and FRADU.

Im not to hopeful on the US front ever since boeing said there going for a new build. Simple put with them not being involved with f35 and hornet line not likely to see past 2015 how do you keep a design teaming going until the 6th gen plane requirement in next decade……

John Hartley
John Hartley
October 14, 2012 9:37 pm

An updated Hawk 200 single seat fighter might do well in these cash strapped times.
I wonder about an Aerion supersonic laminer flow wing on a Hawk with reheat.

Ace Rimmer
October 14, 2012 9:37 pm

For all its limitations the Hawk still has a 9g stress limit on the airframe, that’s still higher than the F-35B/C.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
October 14, 2012 11:04 pm

EJ200 in a (Gos)Hawk? Hmmmm…

October 15, 2012 4:28 pm

Wow, 1000 built – I had no idea the number was that high. Why no radar – is it because of the very small nose?
Not related – just watching PM Cameron being shown construction of QE on Sky News: “..and here PM we have the ship you would dearly have loved to cancel had you got in sooner…”

October 15, 2012 4:55 pm


Why no radar because radars require power, cooling and are a tad expensive.

October 15, 2012 5:25 pm

Funny thing is there is a Hawk with a radar, the RMAF Hawk 208’s have the the Northrop Grumman APG-66H.


October 16, 2012 7:00 am
October 16, 2012 8:10 am

Better to simulate a radar rather than actually have one on a trainer. Given the current state of the USAF finances I would not be shocked if they went for the lowest cost lowest risk solution even if it means buying outside the US.

They currently have a terrible relationship with Lockheed and a new build trainer by Boeing may be too much for them to swallow. They can’t even consider a replacement or refurbishment of the E8 Joint STARS at the moment and that’s before sequestration. One has to ask whats going on in the worlds most expensive and advanced airforce when 40 year old planes are becoming the norm.

Ace Rimmer
October 19, 2012 7:42 pm

Nothing wrong with a clean sheet, as long as its a ‘clean’ design, the RAF bought the Hawk off the drawing board.