Esterline CMC Electronics (CMC) handed over the first three Hawk Mk66 advanced trainers equipped with the company's glass cockpit upgrade to the Finnish Air Force at Kauhava Air Base on November 17, 2011. CMC was selected by Patria, Finland, to perform a glass cockpit upgrade of the fleet of BAE Systems Hawk Mk66 advanced jet trainers for the Finnish Air Force. The Finnish Air Force purchased 18 ex-Swiss Air Force Hawk Mk66 aircraft in 2007 to add to their fleet of Hawk Mk51s.
CMC was selected by Patria to supply its integrated glass Cockpit 4000 for the avionics upgrade of Hawk Mk51 trainers for the Finnish Air Force in January 2007. The final deliveries were recently made for this program. On completion of this new contract, the Finnish Air Force will have a fleet of 26 upgraded Hawks, consisting of 18 Mk66 and eight Mk51 advanced trainers.
The Hawk provides basic and advanced training at Kauhava Air Base for pilots destined for the F-18C and F-18D equipped front-line squadrons. The contract covers the adaptation of CMC's' Cockpit 4000 integrated avionics suite for the Hawk M66 trainer aircraft. The upgrade aims to further increase the quality of flight training, by improving the Hawk jet trainers' training efficiency and extending the training that is currently carried out on Hawk aircraft. The Finnish Air Force has already noted the advantages provided by the Hawk Mk51 upgrade in advanced training and savings. The BAE Systems Hawk Mk51 first entered service with the Finnish Air Force in 1980.
Greg Yeldon, president, Esterline CMC Electronics, stated: "CMC's integrated glass Cockpit 4000 avionics suite is designed specifically to lower training costs while offering superior training capabilities and, if required, to provide an operational weapons delivery role. By utilizing CMC's advanced cockpit avionics, fast jet pilot training, from basic to advanced level, can be performed using a single training platform, resulting in significant savings."
Lassi Matikainen, president of Patria's aviation business unit, added: "This modernization significantly improves the usage of the Finnish Air Force (FINAF) Mk66 fleet in today's demanding military pilot training. It also strengthens Patria's capabilities to support FINAF as a strategic partner in the area of OFP (operational flight program) software development. The feedback received from pilots operating with upgraded Hawk Mk51s at FINAF Flight Academy in Kauhava has been extremely positive. Patria, together with Esterline CMC Electronics, look forward to providing this competitive upgrade solution to other Hawk Mk50/60 series users".
The Patria upgrade core avionics comprise CMC's powerful open-architecture mission computer, a wide field of view SparrowHawk Head-Up Display (HUD) and Up Front Control Panel, two 5x7 inch Multifunction Displays (one in each cockpit), and a HUD repeater for the rear seat instructor in each aircraft. In addition, the avionics suite features mature and proven operational flight programs that integrate the aircraft sensors, radios and weapons systems to provide a wide range of navigation and mission requirements. CMC's standardized avionics solution minimizes the integration effort required for aircraft installation - a key factor in reducing costs for customers.
Patria currently supports a fleet of 67 BAE Systems Hawk jet trainers for the Finnish Air Force, the majority of which were assembled by Patria. Patria also has responsibility for maintaining the Hawks during their in-service life as well as performing modifications. In November 2008, CMC signed a teaming agreement with Patria Aviation for the exclusive marketing of cockpit avionics upgrades of BAE Systems Hawk trainer aircraft. The upgrades will be offered to existing Hawk Mk50/60 and 100 series operators.
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