Indian Air Force all set to induct first lot of Hawk advanced jet trainers

The Indian Air Force will induct the first five of its recently acquired Hawk 132 advanced jet trainers (AJTs) into its training squadron on 23 February 2008, in the presence of the defence minister AK Antony.

The induction ceremony will also mark the operationalisation of these aircraft.

According to IAF sources, the training of new pilots on the Hawks is expected to start from July 2008. The AJTs will replace the more demanding MiG-21 platforms for providing advanced training to the next generation of India's fighter pilots.

The induction of Hawk AJTs meets a long-standing demand of the IAF for an aircraft that could bridge the gap between intermediate jet trainers, such as the Kiran, and the advanced fighter aircrafts in the air force.

The Hawk 132 is expected to help bridge the gap in the quantum difference in skill and judgement levels required by a young fighter pilot as he transits to state-of-the-art fighter aircraft such as the Su-30MKI, Mirage 2000 and MiG-29. The Hawk will serve as the lead trainer for these advanced aircraft.

The first two Hawk AJT aircraft arrived at AFS Bidar, in northwest Karnataka on 12 November 2007.