The Royal Air Force (RAF) has grounded its BAE Systems Hawk T2 fast-jet training aircraft as a precaution after one aircraft suffered an engine failure on the runway at RAF Valley in Anglesey, North Wales.
It is understood that the fault involved the failure of a blade on its Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca Adour Mk 951 non-afterburning turbofan engine that was subsequently ingested by the powerplant of the two-seat jet. It is not known when flight training operations on the Hawk T2 will resume at the Anglesey base. The incident comes less than a fortnight after BAE Systems revealed that flying hours on the aircraft had been reduced because of a technical issue with its Rolls-Royce engine.
An RAF spokesman told AirForces Monthly: “Post a recent issue on the runway involving a RAF Hawk T2 engine, as a precautionary measure, flying has been temporarily paused pending the results of the technical investigation. Flight safety remains paramount thus Hawk T2 flying will only resume when it is right to do so.”
He added that the RAF is working closely with the manufacturer and is awaiting detailed technical analysis of the engine in question. This will be based on full risk analysis evidence. The RAF said the grounding does not affect operation of the Hawk T1, the older variant of the platform which is still employed by the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows.
The Hawk T2 entered operational service with the RAF in April 2009, with 28 examples of the fast-jet training aircraft being delivered to the air arm in total. These aircraft are operated by two squadrons at RAF Valley, both of which are responsible for carrying out different mission sets. No IV Squadron is responsible for conducting ab-initio fast-jet training with students that are destined to fly the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 and Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II. Meanwhile, No XXV (Fighter) Squadron performs tactical and weapons training with student pilots before they progress to Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) of their selected frontline combat aircraft.