Home Air Royal Air Force to retire all Hawk T1 trainers by March 2022

Royal Air Force to retire all Hawk T1 trainers by March 2022

Royal Air Force Hawk T1 out of service date
Royal Air Force file photo of a Hawk T1 trainer

All Royal Air Force Hawk T1 fast jet trainer aircraft, excluding the Red Arrow demonstration team airframes, will be out of service by March 2022, the UK defense ministry has revealed.

According to UK reports from last week, the defense ministry has decided to retire the 76 T1s currently in service on March 31, 2022.

The Red Arrows will continue to fly the T1 until 2030, as planned.

The UK MoD revealed the out-of-service date after previously indicating in its latest defense review that the trainers would bow out by 2025. Other cuts will include the Typhoon Tranche 1 fighters by 2025, the VIP BAe146 by 2022, and the C130 Hercules, which will be retiring by 2023. The early withdrawal of the 14-strong C-130J fleet came as a surprise for Marshall Aerospace, who said it would work with the MoD to secure the effective resale of the aircraft.

Based at Royal Air Force base Leeming, the BAe Hawk T Mk1 has been serving as the Royal Air Force’s advanced trainer since 1979. It is being replaced by the Hawk T2, which features avionics that enable simulations of many of the functions of a modern fighter, combined with an extensive mission debrief system. The Royal Air Force ordered 24 Hawk Mk128 airframes in 2004. The on board simulation capability enables air-to-ground ‘weapon drops’, realistic electronic warfare (EW) training against surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems and other complex operational scenarios.

“The [Hawk T1] retirement reflects a transition to increased use of synthetic training as outlined in the integrated review. The savings made will be reinvested by defense to enable the delivery of new capabilities,” the Daily Post quoted a MoD spokesperson as saying. The UK defense ministry personnel currently operating the aircraft will be assigned to other roles while the scale of Hawk fleet support would be resized in cooperation with industrial partners.

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 also 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.