|Midnights Hawk jet shows the special tail received to celebrate the 40-years service of Hawk in the Finnish Air Force.|
Finland's Midnight Hawks aerobatic team celebrated 40 years of service of the Hawk trainer jet in the Suomen ilmavoimat (Finnish Air Force) during the Kauhava Air Show, 29-30 August 2020. For the special occasion, a Midnight Hawks jet, serial HW-353, received a special tail to highlight the milestone.
40 years ago the first Hawk crossed the Finnish skies when a Hawk Mk 51, serial HW-302, arrived in Pori from Dunford, UK, flown by Major Paavo Janhunen and Major Engineer Keijo Kokko, 16 December 1980.
In the early 1980s, the Hawk replaced the Fouga Magister as the basic system for advanced and tactical training for Finnish Air Force instructors. In the first, Finland bought 50 Hawks, 46 of which assembled in-house at the Valmet plant, Hall. Most of the originally acquired machines are already out of service.
The Hawk fleet of the Finnish Air Force was completed with seven new Mk 51A aircraft purchased in 1993 and 18 Mk 66 aircraft purchased by the Swiss Air Force. Currently, the Finnish Air Force fleet includes 31 fully modernized Hawks.
The Hawk has proven to be a reliable and low-cost operational jet, whose service with the Finnish Air Force will continue until 2030. Thanks to the structural reinforcement program and the modern cockpit, the aircraft will enable quality flight training for the next years.
The Red Arrows also helped the Finnish Air Force to celebrate 40 years of the type as the RAF aerobatic team has also been using the Hawk since the 1980 season. The Reds took part in the Kauhava Air Show as their first public appearance of the year.
Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Images: Finnish Air Force