Maiden test flight of the RAAF’s Hawk 127 at RAAF Base Williamtown

12 May 2000

In the early 1970s the RAAF began its search for an aircraft type to replace the Macchi MB326H jet trainer. The BAE Systems Hawk 127 was announced as its replacement in November 1996, with service with the RAAF beginning in October 2000. 

The RAAF utilises the Hawk 127 lead-in fighter as a jet trainer and fast jet pilot conversion aircraft. Pilots complete a fourteen-week Introductory Fighter conversion course with No 79 Squadron at RAAF Pearce (near Perth). Once completed, the pilots then proceed to another fourteen-week course at No 76 Squadron at RAAF Williamstown (near Newcastle), where they focus on air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons training. Hawks are currently utilised by Nos 76 and 79 Squadrons.

With technologies constantly upgrading and improving, the Hawk 127 is flexible in that its systems can be upgraded. This ability to adapt means it can be used to progress crews on conversion to the F-35A Lightning II aircraft. Despite not being an operational aircraft, it has all the capabilities to perform day and night missions and provide air support.

To learn more, download this extract from Aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force by David Richardson and Peter Wood.