A Hawk aircraft, the advanced jet trainer used to prepare Royal Australian Air Force pilots for life in a fast jet cockpit, has completed the equivalent of 50,000 ‘flying’ hours as part of a major structural testing programme.
BAE Systems worked with the government’s DST Group at its Fishermans Bend facility in Melbourne over the past 14 years subjecting a Hawk air frame to the range of loads that it would experience in flight, simulating usage based on projected operational requirements.
50,000 flying hours of structural testing is five times the current clearance of the 33 Hawk aircraft operated by the RAAF which have a clearance of 10,000 flying hours.
Based on current usage, the fatigue life remaining in the Hawk airframe would allow the aircraft to continue operations well into the late 2040s.
BAE Systems Australia Director Aircraft Sustainment and Training Andrew Chapman said: “The Full Scale Fatigue Test is a hugely important achievement for the Australian Lead In Fighter program and was made possible by the collaboration of a small dedicated team across many thousands of kilometres.
“The Hawk is the world’s most successful and proven military aircraft trainer, built on more than 35 years of fast jet training experience.
“The 2019 completion of Hawk (LIFCAP) upgrade ensures the aircraft is freshly updated and available for service in the RAAF for many more years.”
Picture: BAE Systems Australia/Hawk
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