The Indian Air Force’s Hawk-i trainer jet has been developed into a missile-carrying aircraft. An image doing the rounds on social media shows the trainer aircraft with a wingtip mounted AIM-132 ASRAAM missile.
Imagine an aircraft that can be used as an advanced trainer for Air Force recruits, which also can carry bombs and ammunition to counter hostile targets both in the air and land and is cheaper than conventional fighter jets.
Well, the Indian Air Force’s Hawk trainer could offer you a package deal after the latest modification.
An image tweeted by the IAF’s veteran pilot Grp. Capt. Harsh Vardhan Thakur (VSM) shows a Hawk-i aircraft with wingtip mounted AIM-132 Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missile (ASRAAM). The caption says, “Missile integrators. Hawk-i with ASRAAM.”
Missile integrators. Hawk-i with ASRAAM. pic.twitter.com/WmapnL4YDK
— Harsh Vardhan Thakur (@hvtiaf) April 22, 2021
Although the image was taken during the Aero India show, he stated that the work is in progress for the integration of the missile with the aircraft. Thakur is also the experimental test pilot for India’s state-owned aerospace giant Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
The Indian Air Force has been eyeing these trainer aircraft for combat support roles, arming them with air-to-ground munitions.
The Hawk is a British single-engine, jet-powered advanced trainer aircraft first flown at Dunsfold, Surrey, in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk, and subsequently produced by its successor companies, British Aerospace, and BAE Systems.
It has been used in a training capacity and as a low-cost combat aircraft.
For the Indians, it could be an efficient and low-cost platform to carry out combat missions and train pilots simultaneously. It has been armed and already displayed its compatibility with rocket pods, and even used by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to carry out weapon tests including the latest Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW)- which can engage targets with high precision from distances as far away as a hundred kilometers.
While these air-to-ground munitions are being tested and integrated with the Hawk fleet, the addition of ASRAAM missiles would give it an aerial combat capability.
According to analysts, it would be a great addition to shoot down enemy UAVs, for which a fighter jet wouldn’t need to be scrambled considering the cost-effectiveness and lower range.
The ASRAAM close-combat missile will eventually give the Hawk a self-defense ability against hostile aircraft, according to Thakur.