Patria delivers first modernised Hawk Mk 66 aircraft to the Finnish Air Force

In a recent han­dover cer­e­mo­ny in Kauha­va, Patria deliv­ered the first of a series of mod­i­fied, ultra­mod­ern twin-seat Hawk Mk 66 air­craft to the Finnish Air Force. Work­ing close­ly with the Finnish Air Force, Patria has assumed respon­si­bil­i­ty for the spec­i­fi­ca­tion, design and imple­men­ta­tion of all sys­tem inte­gra­tion for the mod­erni­sa­tion project, which will span three years.

In 2007, the Finnish Air Force pur­chased 18 pre-owned Hawk Mk66s from Switzer­land. These sup­ple­ment­ed the Hawk Mk 51/51A fleet pur­chased ear­li­er. In 2009, this was fol­lowed up by an order placed with Patria, for an exten­sive cock­pit and avion­ics upgrade of the air­craft. The upgrade includes the replace­ment of all impor­tant avion­ics devices and cock­pit dis­play sys­tems by new dig­i­tal IT sys­tems. The design is based on the upgrade already imple­ment­ed on MK 51/51A air­craft. Under the cur­rent pro­gramme, Patria is also respon­si­ble for devel­op­ing soft­ware for the aircraft’s main­frame, the Mis­sion Com­put­er.

This year, Patria will deliv­er six mod­i­fied air­craft to the FiAF, to be fol­lowed by eight more air­craft next year. Accord­ing to the plan, all 18 air­craft will be mod­ern­ized and deliv­ered dur­ing the course of 2013.

Patria has spe­cial exper­tise in avi­a­tion

Upgrades require extreme­ly exten­sive exper­tise, rang­ing from in-depth knowl­edge of avion­ics to under­stand­ing of soft­ware devel­op­ment process­es. Patria has assem­bled the bulk of the Finnish Mk 51 air­craft; it has been main­tain­ing and ser­vic­ing Hawks since 1980, when the Finnish Air Force brought the air­craft into ser­vice. In addi­tion, dur­ing this peri­od Patria has car­ried out large-scale main­te­nance oper­a­tions and mod­i­fi­ca­tions of the air­craft.

“Dur­ing the course of the project, Patria has amassed con­sid­er­able exper­tise in avi­a­tion. The poten­tial of the Patria soft­ware com­pe­tence will ensure that Hawk train­ing air­craft can be devel­oped domes­ti­cal­ly far into the future and thus meet­ing future needs in flight train­ing. An impor­tant fac­tor in the project’s suc­cess lay in seam­less coop­er­a­tion with the Finnish Air Force,” stress­es Las­si Matikainen, Pres­i­dent of Patria Avi­a­tion.

High-qual­i­ty pilot train­ing with mod­ern air­craft

Fol­low­ing the upgrades, the Mk 66 air­crafts’ avion­ics sys­tems will incor­po­rate the full range of fea­tures required for mod­ern flight train­ing. ”The Hawks’ train­ing effi­cien­cy will be improved and, instead of the Hor­net inter­cep­tors cur­rent­ly used, the Hawk fleet will be deploy­able for a num­ber of train­ing mod­ules, but at more afford­able oper­at­ing costs,” explains Matikainen.

The new, upgrad­ed air­craft will fur­ther increase the Kauha­va-based Train­ing Air Wing’s capac­i­ty to pro­vide high-qual­i­ty fight­er train­ing for both Finnish pilots and for­eign cus­tomers.