The first set of wings destined for an aircraft which will train the pilots of the future has been delivered to aircraft makers on the Fylde.
The wings for the Hawk advanced jet trainer (AJT), built by BAE Systems, will be attached to the first aircraft built for the Royal Saudi Air Force at the company’s final assembly line at Warton.
They will be attached to the fuselage of the aircraft early in the new year.
The Hawks are the T2 version of the jet, which is the most advanced fast jet trainer in the world and chosen by many countries to hone the pilots of the future for their air forces.
The Red Arrows currently fly the T1 version of the jet, which has been a mainstay of many air forces for decades.
Peter Goaten, operations manager for the wing line which is based at Samlesbury near Preston, said the part had been produced at the same time as establishing the wing manufacturing facility.
He said: “This achievement is the culmination of many hours of effort by many people both on the wing line and those who have helped create the new wing line alongside it.
“This has involved not only the manufacturing team, but those who were establishing the facilities where the wing sets are now built, the tooling teams and all our suppliers who made sure everything was in place to get this part delivered on time.
“Now the first wing set has been delivered, work is already under way to ensure the remaining sets for further Hawk aircraft are delivered as efficiently and effectively as possible.”
The first wing set will be attached to the fuselage at Warton and will then undergo flight testing over the Fylde later in the year ahead of its delivery to the RSAF.
These aircraft are being delivered by BAE Systems as part of an order for 22 Hawk AJTs from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia placed in May 2012.
Work is also under way at the company’s facility in Brough, East Yorkshire, on manufacturing the sub-assemblies for a further eight aircraft for Oman.
These latest orders take the total number of Hawk trainer aircraft sold, or on order, to 998.