Giving a much-needed boost up to strengthen Indian Air Force (IAF), the Defence Ministry has formally announced to induct the Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) Hawk 132 into service. Defence Minister AK Antony will formally introduce it in an official ceremony on Feb 23, 2008.
Inclusion of an advanced jet trainer into its arsenal was a long demand of IAF and this will certainly accelerate the force and will also bridge the gap between slow jet trainer such as the ‘Kiran’ and the advanced fighter aircraft currently in IAF’s inventory, according to official reports.
The need of a sophisticated trainer jet was high on IAF’s agenda since a long and it is also essential to enhance the competency level of young fighters who are trained for advanced fighter jests like Mirage 2000, MiG-29, Su-30 MKI, MiG 27 and MiG-23 MF. Hawk 132 is considered as best for these advanced jet trainers.
Though the need of AJT was first expressed in 1982 but IAF used HPT-32 replacing HT-2, the primary trainer and since then used as trainer at the Basic Flying Training School in Allahabad since January 1988.
Hawk 132 advancement
The Hawk 132 is fully equipped with all basics and advanced features including an open architecture mission computer, glass cockpit and the modern GPS enabled Inertial Navigation System (INGPS).
Besides it is also equipped with various Indian made components such as the radio altimeter, communication sets, and Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system. It is also fully capable of carrying air-to-air missile and air to ground armament. It could also be used as a lightweight fighter.
The defence ministry first signed agreement with British Aerospace (BAE) Systems in 2004 for the supply of the trainer aircraft. The deal is to acquire 66 aircraft of which 24 built in the UK and license to produce the other 42 in Bangalore by HAL - Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. BAE is also responsible for training IAF pilots and technicians at Warton and Brough in UK.
Meanwhile, Bidar airfield in the North West of Karnataka district has been chosen for training purposes. All infrastructure needs in terms of runways, service network facility have been fulfilled made by the Indian Air Force to ensure a smooth orientation of Hawk 132 aircraft.