THE FIRST batch of two Hawk Mk 129s for the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF) left BAE Systems’ Warton Airfield, Lancashire, on October 13 at the start of their delivery flight. In addition to their full RBAF marking and serials, the two aircraft, 501/ ZK108 and 502/ZK109, retained their UK military test serials and temporary RAF roundels and fin flashes for the four-day ferry flight.
They touched down at Shaikh Isa Air Base, Bahrain, at 1600hrs on October 17 and were received on arrival by Brigadier Hamad bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, the Commander of the RBAF, along with the RBAF Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and other officers.
The remaining four of the six Hawks ordered by the RBAF will be delivered by early 2007 to form the centrepiece of an integrated training system. Together with a package of equipment, support and training which is also being provided by BAE Systems, they will allow the RBAF to develop an indigenous military flying training capability for its front-line pilots.
The RBAF Mk 129s are amongst the first production Hawks to have the new BAE Systems’ operational flight programme integrated with the new FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control)-equipped Rolls-Royce Adour Mk 951 engine.