A number of Hawk jets are currently over the North Sea off the coast of Scotland conducting aggressor training.
The aircraft (callsigns AGGRSR21 and AGRSOR21) are conducting training designed to simulate enemy forces and provide essential training to fast jet pilots.
A number of Hawk jets are currently over the North Sea conducting aggressor training. Training designed to simulate enemy forces and provide essential training to the RAF fast jet pilots. pic.twitter.com/b4y8E9jin1
— George Allison (@geoallison) January 17, 2022
The BAe Hawk T.1 is used in a number of roles for the RAF. In this instance, the aircraft are being used by 100 Squadron, based at RAF Leeming, in the ‘aggressor’ role.
This role involves simulating enemy forces and providing essential training to the RAF front-line units. According to the Royal Air Force website:
“The Hawk T1 is used primarily in the aggressor role by 100 Squadron, who provide opposition forces for front-line training in addition to Close Air Support (CAS) simulation to Land units for currency training. The Hawk T1 is equipped to an operational standard and is capable of undertaking a war role.
It has two underwing pylons cleared to carry AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles or a telemetry pod for recording missions to enable post-flight debriefing. In the CAS training role it can carry up to eight 3Kg practice bombs.”
What’s the status of HAWK T1?
The UK had planned to retire the Hawk T1 fleet by 2025, this has now been brought forward.
Key.aero report here that the date is now March 2022.
“The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has since confirmed that the out-of-service date (OSD) for the type will now be March 31, 2022, although the likelihood is that they will stop flying the platform before then.”
The Defence Command Paper released earlier this year, titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’, states:
“The Royal Air Force will retire equipment that has increasingly limited utility in the digital and future operating environment. This will include rationalising older fleets to improve
efficiency, retiring Typhoon Tranche 1 by 2025, and Hawk T1. We will enhance the new military flying training system with further investment in synthetic training that will deliver more capable pilots more quickly and more efficiently.”
Hawk T1 jets are used in the aggressor role by No. 100 Squadron as explained above and are famous as display aircraft used by the Red Arrows. However, it is understood that the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team (the Red Arrows) Hawk T1 jets have been saved from the axe.
According to the Express:
“Though Ministry of Defence insiders have confirmed that the iconic team will not be felled next week, RAF sources insisted its days were numbered unless other streams of financial support could be found urgently. The Red Arrows has arranged a raft of sponsorship deals with some blue-chip brands, ranging from BAE, Barbour and Breitling to Land Rover and Rolls Royce, worth just under a million pounds in total.”
It is not clear what will replace the aircraft in the ‘Aggressor’ role.