The Ministry of Defence have confirmed no new Hawk jets are needed by the Red Arrows for another 13 years.

A spokesman for the MoD said:

“The Red Arrows will continue to fly the Hawk T1 for more than a decade and there is no need to replace them until after their end-of-service date.”

In a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, 142 MPs called for orders for replacements of the Hawk plane to be brought forward to save jobs at BAE Systems and keep production in the UK.

In their letter, the group warned that unless new contracts are signed soon there will be:

“Virtually no possibility to build any future Hawk aircraft in the UK.

BAE Systems announced last month that it is planning to cut almost 2,000 jobs in its military, maritime and intelligence services to give it “sharper” competitive edge.

Currently, around 40% of a new Hawk is manufactured at the company’s site at Brough, East Yorkshire, and the rest at Warton and Samlesbury in Lancashire.

“By ordering a new fleet of planes to be used by the iconic RAF Aerobatic Display Team, the government will not only help to mitigate the job losses, but will also guarantee the continued production of the Hawk in the UK.

The age of the aircraft affects their reliability to perform, as has been seen recently at air shows where the Red Arrows have flown with a reduced number of aircraft in their formation”, the letter said.



  1. forget the red arrows – they should produce a line of front line aircraft – for dropping bombs on isis we really dont need to be using typhoon – its putting a lot of extra hours on those aircraft and they are expensive to operate too – using hawks in low threat arenas would save a fortune

    so to me at least a hawk that can drop a basic laser guided bomb and maybe brimestone missiles would be a good investment

  2. Perhaps BAE should offer the Red arrows the latest Hawk at a heavily discounted price as a one time offer…. after all part of the point of the Red Arrows is to be ambassidors to Britain and show off UK skills and manufacturing. Yes using the T1 shows with the right maintenance and care that the jets will have a long service life but not if you have no one left in the UK with the skills or manufacturing base to build a replacement when the time comes.

  3. Afternoon
    Hawk T Mk1a was wired for weapon integration (2x Sidewinder and 30mm Aden gun pod on centre line) to work with Phantom FGR Mk1 in the 1980’s.
    Those days are gone.
    Red Arrows are there to display flying excellence – demonstrating the flying training system of the RAF.
    HMG sells flying training packages of which the Hawk is but one part.

      • A very simple very cheap force multiplier.
        CFS qualified B1 and above flying instructors flying small cross section highly agile network fused (Link 16) aircraft. In the 80’s these aircraft were either parented by the Phantom (FGR series – thanks Mike) or Tornado F3 (Thanks Daniele) or direct via UKADGE to prosecute the bomber fleet escorts flying down from Northern Russia.

  4. I recall seeing a mock up Hawk( HS1182 as it was then called) at Farnborough 1972.

    The Hawk has had a very long and successful life going through several regenerations. However with the new generation of trainers coming on line its reached the end of the line.

    Replacement of Hawk for the Red Arrows poses an interesting question . Something cheap to buy and operate would be my suggestion.

    • The Hawk is far from reaching the end of the line…..the latest versions such as the T2 at valley are as good as it gets at the moment for modern fast jet training..

  5. Not just the Red Arrows.

    100 Squadron and IAM will also need replacements at some point, and 736 NAS if it lives long enough.

    • Hi Daniele/John
      100 Sqn (Red air aggressor) – the Hawk has had its day. sterling service and goes to show that you do not need a high end platform to produce realistic red air, just highly trained pilots who understand their aircraft.
      John – cost will be a problem. Cost per hour of legacy Typhoon will put too much of a strain on training budget so you will either have to reduce hours or vastly increase budget. Red air services are available though.
      736 NAS – cost effective way of providing red air for ships, however I think the whole contract of how we do that is in the mix (someone correct me if I am wrong).
      The Sqn could remain but the platform will definitely change.

      The Red Arrow Hawks will be sustained as the Hawk is withdrawn and replaced throughout the units listed above. Cost effective way of keeping it going, remembering the Red Arrows are there to display the excellence of airmanship and the U.K. flying training system.

  6. Typical MP’s “thinking” and lobbying from BAE Systems … Waisting precious Defence money, purely to keep people in work is absolutely insane … What planet do these idiots live on!

    Let the DTI pay for them in that case…..

    • When have MP’s ever cared about the defence of the realm?

      Whenever I read of a base closure the local MP is not commenting on what capabilities, infrastructure, role that facility had and whether the wider defence of the UK is affected.
      No, they comment on lost jobs and the economy.

  7. The hawk has been a great success story for the UK and I do think we have missed a trick here.

    The Gripen has a large volume of British parts and perhaps we should move to this as our primary advanced trainer and fighter jet.

    I dont know enough about the training requirements to understand why we need so many hawk, but suspect this is an opportunity to rationalise the fleet onto Typhoon and F35b (and hopefully Taranis) or to bring in something a bit more modern like a Gripen that is cost effective and has combat utility.

    It’s a pity – but it has had its day.

    • The only reason why we have so many hawks is because it is a legacy aircraft, 175 or something purchased by the RAF if I recall, when the RAF was of considerable size!

      The new Hawk T2 numbers a mere 28. Maybe not enough for 4 FTS and certainly not enough for the other Hawk units.

  8. Evening all
    Trying to answer as many points from above:
    Hawk – cost per hr great value for money. Lead in for F-35 and Typhoon designed into aircraft. It is designed against the requirement, hence Oman, Saudi, Australia etc can use it (Including USN). What it lacks is thrust to weight, M-346 and other contemporaries are now built with twin engines.
    Is 28 enough? Depends what you want to use it for. Aircraft are now measured against availability and not numbers, if you can get 6 sorties out of one aircraft per day against 2/3 sorties in legacy platforms then it makes financial sense. What you lose though with fewer builds is sustainment of production.
    Gripen: Amazing platform uses a lot more than advertised. ETPS fast jet aircraft of choice, weapons trials aircraft (Meteor etc). For a 4th generation aircraft cost per flying hour is low, maintenance is simple hence Brazil has invested so much in it. Should we have bought some? Maybe, but think of it as a baby Typhoon with a single engine.

    The Red Arrows will make sure that we get full value for money out of an airframe that by the time they have finished with it will have given 50 years of service, not bad really if you think about it.

  9. With so many countries using Hawk now, surely, it is worth investing to design a new version as we have a ready made market? Why is it that nowadays the UK always says it is too expensive to do anything, and then buys the product from other countries that did invest? How does BAe expect to have any future if it never designs any new products? No one seems to think long term at all.

    • They have missed the boat with Hawk.
      Unfortunately they have not looked beyond the airframe they have and stick with a single engine platform that doesn’t have the growth capability required to keep it going. The major markets now are looking at the M-346 and T-50 which gives users cheap per hour costs but with flexibility because the design is new. Hawk design is still based on a solid 1970’s simple design based on a 25 year lifecycle. Who knew that nearly 40 years later it would still be going. You can only get so much out of something that was never designed for 50+ years of use.

    • Leo, the Hawk is still a very capable aircraft. The RAF’s new trainer’s are extremely good assets by all reports and will be key assets for many years to come

      However, despite the advanced systems of the current production aircraft, the airframe is an adaptation of a 40 year old design.

      You can only keep a design going for so long.
      Unfortunately BAE Systems has little interest in building manned Military Aircraft these days, if they did, they would have lobbied hard for Warton being the European assembly plant for the F35, possibly “the” most suitable high tech Military Aviation R&D and Assembly plant outside of the US

      The time to get into designing, developing and competing for new training jets, came and went 15 years ago. That horse long left the stables, no point bolting the gate now!

      Unfortunately, the R&D of these very advanced aircraft is hugely expensive and bar the US, required numbers are limited due to synthetic training and advanced turboprop types filling much of the training syllabus.

  10. I believe the UK needs to concentrate on Missiles and Taranis going forward as we have great expertise and experience and can leverage the F35’s to work with Taranis.

    As for missiles – the Scandinavian countries are showing us the way at the moment and we should look to them.

    If we are going to replace Hawk with a similar product, which I personally dont think we should then I believe we should go for the Gripen E – as I believe that UK manufacturing has a high parts content and it could clearly be built in the UK as well.

    As it currently stands Taranis is a major opportunity that we are wasting by teaming with the French, who will do what they always do and take the intellectual property and sell as their own.

    • Evening Pacman27
      Gripen E is a great platform but only single seat. We need a 2 seat trainer, even if only for pilot nav training.
      You are correct in high U.K. parts in platform esp. for the avoidance of US ITAR.
      Taranis – still nervous about it. Currently cannot see it being fully trusted, we like the man in the loop.

  11. I’d suggest a British company get on with designing a new aircraft for the advanced jet trainer/light combat role so we do have a replacement. There’s plenty of others available, such as the Italian M-346 master or the Korean KAI T-50 Golden Eagle, either of which would look great in Red arrow red.
    I still miss the Folland Gnat!

  12. They WANT there to be no possibility of future aeroplane manufacture by a British company. The same as in all fields mind you (shipbuilding, steel making, train making, car making, truck making, wind turbines, aeroplanes, armoured fighting vehicles, etc., etc., etc.). So much so in fact that it is completely obvious that they have, and are, waging a deliberate and organized war against British heavy industry. They want us to have ZERO heavy industry in Britain (whilst other European countries have several). They want us to have to go cap in hand to a foreign company for everything from now until forever. It is humiliating for a major European country with a history of engineering.

    France, Germany and Italy have massive industries in several fields. They all have their own car industries, we have none in our own hands. They all have commercial shipbuilding industries, we have none. Germany produces 42 million tonnes of steel per year, France 15 million tonnes, Italy 23 million tonnes. Britain produces an embarrassing 7 million tonnes. Even tiny Belgium produces more steel than us. Whatever policies that are in place that are allowing them to do this, put them in place in our country. Germany produces 60 million tonnes of coal every year, we produce well under 10 million tonnes. Germany and France design and build their own trains, we don’t. Even Spain makes trains. Germany designs and builds wind turbines, we do not. Even tiny Denmark designs and builds wind turbines.

    The trains for HS2 are going to be built by a foreign company. This was a golden opportunity for them to set up a brand new British factory and give them the order, it would have been a showcase for British engineering and it would have been a point of pride for Britain. They had no intention of allowing these trains for Britain’s railways to be built by a British company, they literally couldn’t wait to give this massive contract to a foreign company (as they do with every single industry). They done the same thing with the trains for the East Coast Mainline recently, the first time in nearly 200 years trains for Britain’s E.C.M.L. will be foreign. The trains for HS2 are going to be built by a foreign company. This was a golden opportunity for them to set up a brand new British factory and give them the order, it would have been a showcase for British engineering and it would have been a point of pride for Britain.

    We will always need trains, so this is the 1 industry that we can sustain. What are we going to do, go cap in hand to a foreign company every single time Britain needs trains from now until forever? We never would have had a George Stephenson or a Flying Scotsman or a Mallard if this had always went on. We will never have anything like that ever again if this always continues.

    • So why are they, the they being HMG, doing this?

      Obviously a long term conspiracy.

      To make the UK so weak, divided, riddled with PC and devoid of national pride and motivation we just merge with and become an outer region of the EU?

      But, isn’t that what has been happening already?


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