Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) pilots have begun training on the latest, digital standard HAWK advanced jet trainer after accepting the first upgraded aircraft from BAE Systems. Initial Operating Capability for the Lead-In Fighter Capability Assurance Programme (LIFCAP) was declared on 5 July.
LIFCAP will bring all 33 of the RAAF’s HAWK aircraft up to a standard almost identical to the Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) in British service. The upgraded training capabilities include simulated radar, electronic warfare, digital mapping, ground proximity warning system and traffic collision avoidance. Two legacy simulators are being replaced by three full mission simulators provided by CAE. The programme will deliver an enhanced training capability to prepare RAAF aircrew for fast jet cockpits in the F/A-18A/B HORNET, F/A-18F SUPER HORNET, EA-18G GROWLER and F-35A LIGHTNING II.
Started in 2014 by BAE Systems, the programme involves engineering teams in the UK and Australia together with CAE and Cubic Defense Applications, working closely with the RAAF. So far, 12 of the 33 aircraft have been upgraded and programme completion is currently scheduled for 2019.
“The upgrade brings the RAAF HAWK up to the same platform capability as the most modern HAWK aircraft around the globe; allowing for future shared development and potentially shared cost, across multiple users,” Glynn Phillips, Chief Executive of BAE Systems Australia, explained.