WARTON, England, March 24 (UPI) -- BAE Systems-UK reports that work is under way to upgrade navigation and weapons systems for South Africa's fleet of Hawk jet trainers.
The software and hardware upgrade, jointly developed with Advanced Technologies and Engineering of South Africa, enables the Hawk Mk120 to share simulated radar data across multiple platforms, including the country's Gripen fighters.
The upgrade includes introduction of software to simulate the use of infrared and radar guided missiles. The upgrade also involves the replacement of the existing analog video recording with a digital recording capability.
"Integrating these upgrades onto the South African air force's Hawks will significantly enhance the training capability of the aircraft, ensuring the student pilots learn in a more realistic environment, significantly reducing the cost of training on expensive platforms," said Mike Swales, International Training director for BAE Systems. "Additionally, they are also better prepared for the challenge of flying front-line aircraft."
Work on upgrading the systems has started on eight aircraft from Makhado Air Base, Limpopo Province, South Africa. The remainder of the Hawk Mk120 fleet is to be upgraded before the end of the year.
BAE Systems delivered 24 Hawk Mk120 Lead In Fighter Trainers to South Africa. The Hawk aircraft have been configured so their cockpits and systems closely resemble those on the Gripen advanced fighter.