India and UK are targeting export market for their jointly developed combat/trainer version of the Hawk trainer aircraft.
A jointly developed, dual role version of the Hawk trainer aircraft is expected to debut at the Aero India show later this month aiming to target countries which are potential targets of the Pakistan-China developed light jet, the JF-17 Thunder.
The countries have been working jointly for two years under a model with Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and BAE pooling resources to develop a faster, more agile Hawk that can also carry smart weapons.
The aircraft, which is currently being assembled in Bengaluru for the AeroIndia show next week, has several new features including a new wing design by HAL that gives the plane more agility, extra power and the ability to carry a range of conventional and precision weapons for an operational role, the Economic Times reported stating that the aircraft that will undertake its first flight in March this year.
"We have had good interest for the aircraft. There have been a few visits by our neighbouring air chiefs who have shown interest," HAL chairperson T Suvarna Raju was quoted as saying.
BAE, which manufactures the plane and has exported it across the world, believes that the Advanced Hawk will be in demand with several air forces that are acquiring advanced fighter jets.
The company estimates that there is a requirement of over such 300 trainers worldwide that will be targeted with the new product.
"The Advanced Hawk can carry a payload of 3,000 kg mounted across seven stations. It is ready to play the role as a force multiplier in combat operations," Dave Corfield who heads Hawk India was quoted as saying by Economic Times today.