The RAAF’s fleet of 33 BAE Systems Hawk 127 Lead-in Fighter Trainers was grounded for just over three weeks recently following an “engine issue” on a 79SQN Hawk at RAAF Pearce on May 14.
The aircraft was conducting touch-and-go training at RAAF Pearce north of Perth when it experienced the unspecified engine issue, and the trainee pilot was able to safely land the aircraft without damage or injury.
Following the incident, the RAAF grounded its fleet of Hawks until June 6 to allow the investigation sufficient time to deliver preliminary findings and to discover a root cause of the engine incident.
In response to questions from ADBR, an RAAF spokesman said, “current state of investigations with Rolls-Royce, the Hawk Design Authority (BAE Systems in the UK) and RAAF have allowed the Hawk Lead-In Fighter aircraft to resume flying on Thursday 6 June.”
While there are no operational restrictions to the fleet following the removal of the grounding, the spokesman said, “aircrew have been advised to be stringent in their application of existing operational controls to ensure any risk is reduced so far as reasonably practicable.”
The Hawk entered service with the RAAF in 2001, and is powered by a single Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour Mk 871 engine. The fleet recently completed the comprehensive AIR 5438 Lead-in Fighter Capability Assurance Program (LIFCAP) upgrade to better provide advanced training for the next generation of RAAF frontline air combat pilots for aircraft such as the F-35A Lightning II.