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Air 5367 - Lead-In Fighter Project



The Lead-In Fighter Project was established to provide a state-of-the-art fast jet training capability for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The aircraft chosen for this role is the advanced two-seater
Hawk 127; renamed Lead-In Fighter (LIF).

The Lead-In Fighter Project Office forms part of the Tactical Fighter Systems Program Office (TFSPO) within Aerospace Combat Systems; a branch of Aerospace Systems Division in the DMO. TFSPO is located at RAAF Base Williamtown in New South Wales.

Project Overview

A Trainer for the new Century
AIR 5367 was approved in the 1995/96 Budget, which provided for the acquisition of aircraft for Lead-In Fighter pilot training and ADF support. The contract was awarded to BAE SYSTEMS and contact signature was in 1997.

The Lead-In Fighter – Hawk 127 – replaced Australia’s life-expired fleet of Macchi Lead-In Fighters. The Hawk 127 is a tandem two seat aircraft primarily used for initial, cost effective fighter training to prepare aircrew for operational conversion to the F/A-18 Hornet fighter or F-111 strike aircraft.

Powered by a Rolls-Royce Adour turbofan, the Hawk 127 has outstanding performance characteristics. The aircraft will be used to train RAAF pilots for the demands of front-line service well into this century.

Operated by No.76 Squadron located at RAAF Base Williamtown and No.79 Squadron located at RAAF Base Pearce, under the command of 78 Wing, the Hawk 127s through-life support programs have been designed for a 25 year life of type and allow for growth capacity to ensure system upgrades can be incorporated to reflect evolving training requirements.

Hawk 127


Project AIR 5367 has acquired 33 Lead-In Fighter – Hawk 127 – aircraft and all support infrastructure to conduct both Lead-In Fighter Training and ADF Air Support tasks between 2001 and 2025. The final Hawk 127 aircraft was delivered in October 2001.


The project is due for completion by mid-2008. Together with the Commonwealth, BAE SYSTEMS agreed to the concept of delivering interim levels of operational capability (OC); with the customer – 78 Wing – advising of the minimum level of capability required in a series of staged deliveries of LIF capabilities.

Three levels of capability are planned for delivery as follows:

  • OC1 (November 2000) - Delivery of clean aircraft to commence fast jet pilot training and clearance for some basic stores (complete);

  • OC2 (December 2001) - Software upgrade to LIF Aircraft with Mk82 bomb (complete); and

  • OC3 Service Release of Radar Emulation (July 2006) and Radar Simulation (October 2006). The fleet embodiment activity for Radar Simulation was completed in October 2006. A new software load for Radar Simulation was Service Released on 27 June 08. Embodiment of the software load was completed on 76 Sqn (Williamtown, NSW) jets in July 2008 and 79 Sqn (Pearce, WA) jets in August 2008.

Key Project Attributes

Innovative In-service Support Contract
The In-Service Support Contract requires BAE SYSTEMS to provide deeper maintenance support throughout the 25-year life of type, in five-year renewable terms. In support of this contract, BAE SYSTEMS has established a support facility at Williamtown.

To achieve success with this project, an innovative partnering agreement has been developed by the Defence Materiel Organisation, RAAF and BAE SYSTEMS. This partnering system is an integral part of the management of the project and has provided the Commonwealth and BAE SYSTEMS the opportunity to utilise economies of scale and scope to ensure that the Commonwealth receives the best possible product.

Australian Industry Involvement
To develop Australia's indigenous capability to support this project, BAE SYSTEMS has partnered with HUNTER Aerospace, Hawker deHavilland, Airflite, Qantas and over 40 other Australian companies. The contract has created more than 500 defence and aerospace jobs. Furthermore, while the first 12 aircraft were assembled in Brough (UK), the assembly of the final 21 aircraft was conducted at the $15 million state-of-the-art, purpose built, Lead-In Fighter Support Facility at the Williamtown RAAF Base, north of Newcastle, NSW.


Project Manager
Mr Richard Weston
TFSPO, RAAF Base Williamtown
NSW 2314
Telephone: 02 4928 6906

Last updated: 20 November 2008

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