The Royal Air Force has temporarily halted Hawk T1 operations while an investigation is carried out into a recent crash.

A spokesperson said:

“Safety is our paramount concern. The RAF has decided to temporarily pause Hawk T1 operations, as a precautionary measure, while investigations are ongoing. We will continue to review the situation as further information becomes available.”

Earlier in the week as part of the ‘Defence Command Paper, effectively just a defence review, it was announced the UK would retire its fleet of 76 Hawk T1 jets.

According to the Royal Air Force website:

“The BAe Hawk T Mk1 is a fully aerobatic, low-wing, transonic, two-seat training aircraft that is still used in a number of roles for the RAF. 100 Squadron, based at RAF Leeming, fly the Hawk T Mk1 in the ‘aggressor’ role, simulating enemy forces and providing essential training to the RAF front-line units. In addition to this, the Sqn carries out close air support training to British Army units, defence engagement tasks and participates in numerous overseas exercises throughout the year. The Mk1 is also in use with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, based at RAF Scampton, in addition to the flight test and evaluation unit at MoD Boscombe Down.”

Additionally, as the Royal Navy’s maritime aggressor squadron, Hawk T1 aircraft also provide airborne threat simulations that allow for realistic training at sea.

According to the Royal Navy website:

“Equipped with Hawk T1 twin-seat fast jet aircraft, 736 Naval Air Squadron’s primary role is to provide simulated ship attacks for Royal Navy and NATO units in the run-up to deployment. The maritime specialists use their jets to replicate the threats from enemy fighter aircraft and high-speed sea-skimming missiles.

736 NAS also fly missions for students at the Royal Navy School of Fighter Control. Aerial battles between friendly and enemy jets are set up for the students to contend with, providing the live element of their training syllabus. The Hawk jets, marked with the distinctive lightning bolt of 736 NAS, can often be found beyond the maritime environment; from close air support for land forces, to simulating attacks on helicopters to train the crews in fighter jet evasion.”

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Marked
Marked
6 months ago

Can’t help feeling these aircraft have been very underused.

They were and are more than capable of dropping bombs and rockets on caves in uncontested airspace.

It would have been far cheaper than using typhoons. And freed them up for more appropriate work should the need arise.

Challenger
Challenger
6 months ago
Reply to  Marked

They are from the 1970s with analog controls and none of the modern sensors, survivability and range that something that Typhoon offers.

Should we park all of our expensively procured Typhoons and F35’s in the UK waiting for a war against Russia or China?

We have 16 Protectors on the way that will provide a lower cost but still highly capable solution.

Rogbob
Rogbob
6 months ago
Reply to  Marked

They couldnt have carried the bombs to the caves, or hit them accurately.

They are jet trainers and have been very intensively used in that role.

julian1
julian1
6 months ago
Reply to  Marked

that would have meant iron bombs only! Imagine the collateral damage

A&Daccountant
A&Daccountant
6 months ago
Reply to  Marked

The hawks are looking pretty beaten up, underused is definitely not the word I would use to describe them.

You’d need some brave pilots to fly these on ops, hawk is a sitting duck against virtually any modern missile system or MANPADS. What more appropriate mission could a typhoon be engaged in than dropping bombs?

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
6 months ago

If all comes to fruition, it seems the pattern now is for unit reduction rather than the outright UK offence of a capability gap. A number of examples, including but not limited to; Hawk T1 goes, but there’s Hawk T2. Hercules goes, but there’s Atlas. Two Type 23 on their way out, but the other units more available. Warrior not gapped awaiting Boxer, just not updated. CH3 to go ahead in small numbers, but we were already small ‘in that department’, as you’d have to anticipate for a traditionally maritime nation. For the immediate future, more investment in military infrastructure,… Read more »

Andrew Deacon
Andrew Deacon
6 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

At least some good news is that approx half the t1’s fleet will be kept for the red arrows according to this report
https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2021-03-25/savage-cuts-raf-uk-defense-review

julian1
julian1
6 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Back to “Salami-slicing” then. This is a practice they stopped allegedly in 2010!

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
6 months ago
Reply to  julian1

The ‘benefit’ accruing from the deterioration in international politics* is that we will establish soon enough if the Gov/MOD is still playing the political short-termism gambit otherwise known as cuts today, jam tomorrow**. There is increasing rancour, on the face of it fully justified when discussing an official policy document, that the DCP together with its childlike infographics contain no unit/timeline data worth the name. This could well be that we are dealing with nohing more than Bojowords; or it may just mean that the *situation is so fluid that conventional predictions are invalid. It’s not as if previous unit… Read more »

James
James
6 months ago

They should keep a squadron of these for tourist flights . They do this in Germany for about 6k for a ten minute flight. Better than scrapping outright. Doesn’t have to be RAF private company could do it

Alex W
6 months ago
Reply to  James

Imagine the insurance needed for that, getting on for 50 years old. 6 accidents in 10 years, not a great record, and they seem to be a bird strike magnet.

They need special permission to carry military pax, let alone civvies that had nothing to do with Hawks.