BAE Systems (UK) has officially transferred Hawk Mission System Design Authority to ATE South Africa, allowing ATE to sign off any future upgrades or modifications on the South African Air Force’s Hawk Mission System.
The Hawk Mission System Design Authority certificate was officially transferred at a ceremony held at ATE Premises in Midrand. ATE said the transfer was a significant milestone in the Hawk Lead-in-Fighter-Trainer programme and signifies the end of a major ATE capability build-up regarding Mission Systems and Software.
The ATE development of the Hawk Navigation and Weapons System (NWS) included numerous audits and reviews as conducted by BAE Systems, culminating in Alan Geddes (Mission Systems) and Anton Coetzee (Software) of ATE South Africa now having the authority to sign off any future upgrades or modifications on the Hawk Mission Systems. At aircraft level, BAE Systems would still sign off any modifications/upgrades in the aircraft, as it is a BAE Systems product.
Given this achievement, ATE said it has positioned itself to support Armscor and the South African Air Force in view of the potential introduction of a Helmet Mounted Capability and possible integration of the A-Darter Missile on the SAAF Hawk Aircraft as a future upgrade.
The NWS was developed under a R500 million (US$73 million at the time) prime avionics subcontract from BAE Systems, the first time that the latter has placed such a contract with a foreign company. BAE Systems Hawk South Africa Project Director Mike Rennardson in May 2006 said the order, when placed in April 2000, was the “biggest ever contract placed on a South African private sector aerospace firm.”
The South African Air Force received 24 Hawk Mk 120 Lead-In Fighter Trainers as part of the Strategic Defence Procurement Package.