BAE Systems UK upgrading Hawk jet trainers for Australia

July 8, 2013 at 4:16 PM

WILLIAMTOWN, Australia, July 8 (UPI) -- BAE Systems UK has been tapped by Australia to conduct a major upgrade to nearly three dozen Hawk jet trainer aircraft.

The contract to BAE Systems UK, the manufacturer of the plane, is for five years but could be extended to 2026. It is worth nearly $394 million over the base period.

Minister for Defense Materiel Mike Kelly said BAE Systems UK and BAE Systems Australia have been working closely with the Department of Defense to define the scope of the upgrade and will leverage previous Hawk development programs for the modernization.

"Australian industry will also be engaged, ensuring compatibility with the current lead-In fighter training capability, construction of simulator facilities, modification of the Hawk fleet, and in-service support of equipment," he said.

The Hawk is the lead-in jet fighter trainer for F/A-18 fighters and will also be so for the F-35 joint strike fighter.

The contract includes deep maintenance, engineering, logistics and training support.

Work will be performed by BAE Systems Australia's facility in Williamtown, New South Wales.

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