BAE Systems, ATE to take Hawk to “OC4” standard


BAE Systems and its local partners led by Midrand-based ATE is to upgrade the Navigation & Weapons system (NWS) of the South African Air Force’s Hawk Mk120 lead-in fighter trainers to “Operational Capability 4” (OC4) standard.

The OC4 upgrade will include the incorporation of improved radio equipment and the introduction of data link and missile modelling capabilities, the British defence giant says in a statement.

The release gave no monetary value for the deal or timelines.


BAE Systems Support Director Hawk International Mike Swales says the upgrade will allow the SAAF “to provide even more realistic training scenarios and exercises for its trainee fighter pilots who will later graduate to the Gripen advanced fighter.”


In 1999, South Africa ordered a joint package of 24 Hawk and 26 Saab JAS39 Gripen aircraft from BAE Systems at a cost of R7.2 billion for the Hawk and R19.8 billion for the latter.


The SAAF took delivery of its 24th Hawk earlier this year.


The aircraft are now operated by 85 Combat Flying School at AFB Makhado in Limpopo Province.


This latest development follows an earlier R500-million contract with ATE for the initial SAAF Hawk NWS design, development and production.


“This multi-million pound contract is a significant event for the Hawk Programme in South Africa as it provides South Africa with indigenous capabilities for the long term support of Hawk. It also demonstrates BAE Systems` commitment to working with the South African Air Force and South African industry in ensuring the through-life support to Hawk,” said Swales.



New Auxiliary Power Unit & Hydraulic component maintenance capabilities


In addition, BAE Systems` Military Aircraft Solutions unit has been awarded a contract to supply and install a Hawk Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) maintenance centre.


The APU is a small jet turbine located within the aircraft fuselage. It provides power to the aircraft`s systems when the plane is parked on the ground. The APU also provides standby or reserve power to start the main engine or to re-start it in the event that it had shut down in flight.


The new APU maintenance facility will be located at AFB Waterkloof near Pretoria. It will provide the SAAF with the capability to test, service and repair its Hawk APUs. In doing so, it will generate through-life cost savings and reduce the SAAF`s reliance on the European supply chain.


BAE Systems will also integrate the maintenance capability for South Africa`s Hawk hydraulic components with that of the SAAF’s new Gripen front-line fighter. These will be centred on a common test bench, BAE Systems said in a statement.


Again, the release disclosed no value or timeframes.


Pic: A SAAF Hawk Mk120 releases bombs, a capability gained from OC3 software.