Moving towards advancements in training, the Royal Air Force (RAF) is contemplating a successor for its Hawk T2 training . The RAF's current training protocol, which has been in place since 2004, may be due for an .

RAF Training Process

  • The training begins at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell with the Tutor Mk1 or Prefect Mk1.
  • Successful candidates are moved to RAF Valley to fly a T-6 Texan II and subsequently a BAe Hawk T2.

Although the Hawk T2, with its advanced avionics for realistic training in complex operational scenarios, has been praised, it has also faced criticisms. The fleet has been plagued with significant availability issues due to recurring engine failures.

Despite this, the Ministry of stated in September 2021 that the RAF would maintain the Hawk T2 until at least 2040. Interestingly, the Ministry of Defence, which rejected the notion of substituting the aircraft in 2021, has since changed its stance and is now considering a new version.

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RAF's Review for Advanced Training

To meet the training needs of the British armed forces, the RAF has initiated a comprehensive review of future capabilities for combat crew training, with a focus on aircraft, simulators, and virtual reality options. Expected to be presented this year, the review will provide an assessment of probable costs and a timeline for the Hawk T2's replacement.

This shift is in sync with the new training needs brought about by the introduction of a 6th generation combat aircraft in the Global Combat Air Programme. The RAF has determined that the Hawk T2 will not be up to the task.

Potential Replacements

Several options are being examined for a suitable substitute, including an existing aircraft like Leonardo's M-346 or Korea Aerospace Industries' T-50 Golden Eagle, an upcoming aircraft such as Boeing/Saab's T-7 Red Hawk, or a British solution proposed by Aeralis.

The Aeralis concept seems particularly promising. It features a training aircraft that can be configured into three different versions as needed. The UK Ministry of Defence's Rapid Capabilities Office has already provided financial support for Aeralis' development of this training aircraft.

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Meanwhile, in a similar move, the Royal Canadian Air Force has decided to discard its somewhat new CT-155 Hawks, aiming to train future jet pilots in the US, as part of the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training.

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