Portrush aircraft Profile Day 11 (Part 2) – Hawk T2 Duo

Day 11 (part 2) of our Portrush Aircraft profile is a team making their debut at Portrush this year, the RAF Hawk T2 Duo who only formed earlier this year and replaced the RAF Tucano display.

The Hawk T2 Role Demo team is the public face of Number 4 Flying Training School (4FTS) based at RAF Valley on Anglesey and their full time mission is to train the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy combat pilots of the future. The Hawk T2 Role Demo exists to demonstrate the training conducted at RAF Valley, the professional excellence of the RAF and promote recruitment to the RAF.

THE AIRCRAFT

The Hawk T TMk2 is a fully aerobatic, low wing, transonic, tandem 2-seat training aircraft with mission avionics that will be suitable representative of front-line aircraft. The Hawk T TMk2 is used to train selected personnel to meet the Fast Jet Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) input standards in order to contribute to the timely and sustainable delivery of capability. It has replaced the older Hawk T1 which is still in use with the RAF Red Arrows!

The Hawk has tandem seats, with full controls available in the front and rear cockpit. Duplication of essential controls with appropriate override facilities is provided in the rear cockpit, for example store jettison, landing gear and flaps.

The aircraft’s ‘glass cockpit’ avionics suite provides a realistic advanced fast jet training platform, which, as part of the UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS), meets current and future OCU input standards.

It allows trainees to be immersed in the more complex tactical environments by ‘downloading’ training from the OCUs.The Hawk T TMk2 has an extended nose for additional avionics and features a number of major changes under the skin. With the recent introduction into RAF service of a modern digital cockpit aircraft, the training potential offered by the Hawk T TMkI is no longer adequate to meet the pilot training need; gone are the traditional cockpit dials and switches.

In their place are three, full color, multi-function displays similar to those used by modern fighters such as Typhoon. These are used to display navigation, weapon and systems information. The aircraft’s head-up display (HUD) has been updated to use symbols and data used in more current combat aircraft. Other changes include ‘Hands-On-Throttle-And-Stick’ (HOTAS) controls which are fully representative of front line combat aircraft types, and twin mission computers hosting simulations of a wide range of sensor and weapon systems as well as a full featured IN/GPS navigation system with moving map display.

The Hawk T TMk2 has a data link which gives the pilot synthetic radar for intercept training. The aircraft also has a sensor simulation capability to allow realistic Electronic Warfare (EW) training against Surface to Air Missile (SAM) systems. Outside of the cockpit, the Hawk T TMk2 has the new 7 station wing and will be fitted with the updated 6,500lbs static thrust Rolls Royce/Turbomeca Adour Mk.951 turbofan with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC).

THE PILOTS

Ninja 1

Flight Lieutenant Ben Polwin

Flight Lieutenant Ben Polwin was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire and grew up in Billingshurst, West Sussex. He was Educated at The Weald School in Billingshurst and Collyers Sixth Form College in Horsham. He was an active member of Storington Air Training Corps before joining the Royal Air Force as a ‘direct entrant’ in 2003.

Upon joining, he progressed through flying training on the Tutor, Tucano and Hawk T1 before completing his Tactical Weapons training on the Hawk 115 at the NATO Flying Training School in Cold Lake, Canada. Ben went on to fly the Tornado GR4 and on completion of the Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Lossiemouth, served on IX(B) Sqn at RAF Marham. During this tour he deployed on numerous operations over Afghanistan and Libya as well as flying in major overseas exercises around the world including Red Flag. He was posted to RAF Valley in 2011 and became a Tactical Weapons Qualified Flying Instructor on IV(R) Sqn flying the Hawk T2. He lives at Valley with his wife Sophie and black Labrador Angus. In his spare time Ben enjoys DIY and cycling.

Ninja 2

Flight Lieutenant Toby Keeley

Toby Flight Lieutenant Toby Keeley was born in Eastbourne, East Sussex and educated at Ringmer Community College and Park College, Eastbourne. Whilst at school, he was a member of the Hailsham Air Training Corps. On completion of his A-levels, he went on to study Business Management at Solent University, and completed his Elementary Flying Training as a member of Southampton University Air Squadron.

Toby joined the Royal Air Force in 2003 and graduated through Initial Officer Training and Basic Fast Jet Training on the Tucano. After successfully graduating from Advanced Flying Training at RAF Valley, he completed his Tactical Weapons Training on the Hawk 115 at the NATO Flying Training School in Cold Lake, Canada. On returning to the UK, Toby was selected to fly the Tornado GR4 and, on finishing the Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Lossiemouth, he was posted to 31 Squadron at RAF Marham.

During his front line tour Toby completed 2 operational tours of duty in Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK, and took part in various major exercises in Europe and North America including the NATO led Tactical Leadership Programme in Spain. In 2012 he was posted to IV(R) Sqn, RAF Valley as a Qualified Flying Instructor on the Hawk T2. He lives at Valley with his wife Hilary and 2 young children, Imogen and Harry. In his spare time Toby enjoys playing golf, tennis, surfing, playing the guitar and spending time with his family.

Information and photo from RAF Hawk T2 duo website. Check back tomorrow for another aircraft profile!

Northern Ireland & Ireland Airshows's photo.
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