On Tuesday Patria handed over the first serial production upgraded Hawk trainer to the Finnish air force here at the Paris Air Show. The Finnish group has upgraded the aircraft with a CMC Electronics Cockpit 4000 avionics suite, SparrowHawk HUD and multi-function displays, among other improvements.
Patria’s upgrade gives the Finnish Hawks another two decades of service, and their glass cockpits and modern mission system are better suited to training pilots for Finland’s Hornet fighters. The company is offering similar conversions for other Hawk operators.
The Finnish air force first agreed on an upgrade program with Patria in December 2006, covering 30 aircraft. The fleet comprises 49 Hawk Mk 51/51As, most of which were assembled in Finland, and 18 low-time Hawk Mk 66s acquired from Switzerland in 2007. The modernization effort covers 12 of the earlier aircraft and all of the former Swiss machines.
A prototype Mk 51 conversion flew again in September last year, leading to a December 30 order for 11 more Mk 51/51A modernizations. The last of the dozen Mk 51/51As will be delivered next year, to be followed by the 18 Mk 66s. As well as fulfilling Finnish requirements, the Hawks will be used by the Nordic Pilot Training Centre at Kauhava, established by Patria and the air force to train foreign pilots.