Advent Calendar #16: Hawk turns 40

Finland, the first export customer of the Hawk, got it’s first jet 40 years ago today. The aircraft beat Dassault-Breguet Alpha Jet, Saab 105, Aermachi MB.339 and Aero L-39 Albatros to become the new advanced trainer back in the late 1970’s, with first delivery 16 December 1980. The Finnish Air Force now decided to celebrate this event with a striking anniversary scheme, and as such, today’s picture will be of this jet, HW-340. The aircraft is one of the original Finnish Mk.51 Hawks, and is no stranger to a touch of blue and white as it has been one of the aircrafts of the Midnight Hawks display team that received large Finnish flags a few years ago. In the current scheme, the first Finnish jet with an official ‘whole-body’ special scheme, HW-340 will make appearances on the display circuit next year. The Hawk-fleet is made up of a mix of Mk.51 and slightly differing Mk.51A, as well as ex-Swiss Mk.66. All have now been upgraded to a newer standard with glass cockpits to better serve the modern training environment, and the fleet will continue to serve well into the HX-era. Picture source: Ilmavoimat Twitter