March 2021 Boeing T-45C Goshawk

BAE Hawk T.1A

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Boeing T-45C Goshawk

US Navy VT-21, HAS Kingsville, Texas, 2011

Carrier Landing Trainer.

Italeri  1/72 , with scratch modifications and Caracal Models decals.

One of the most unusual variants of the Hawk is the T-45 Goshawk, used by the US Navy and US Marines to train naval aviators in deck landings.

Introduced in the early 1990s, it is expected to remain in service until the 2030s. The aircraft is an extensively modified variant of the Bae  Hawk 60 series, with strengthened airframe and undercarriage, a tail hook and a modified wing with full length leading edge slats and larger slotted flaps, intended to reduce landing speeds on the carriers.   Light practice bombs can be carried on 2 wing pylons, but the aircraft are normally flown in the clean state, or with a single centreline baggage carrier.   

To ease transition to more capable modern jet aircraft, the current Goshawk has an updated glass cockpit that emulates the look and feel of operational fighters and some aircraft have been fitted with synthetic radar to allow back seat training of F-18 Super Hornet and Growler weapons and EW operators.  

Building an Italeri -based Goshawk Kit:

I seem to be having a bit of a Hawk binge at the moment.

This kit is an easy build, with good fit and delicate engraved detail. Unfortunately it represents a prototype aircraft, so does not have all the airframe modifications seen on the production versions. Most of these changes are easy to add though and Caracal produce a superb set of T-45C decals that are difficult to resist!

Addressing the required changes to a "good enough" standard is relatively easy, although some inaccuracies remain and a few compromises are needed, such as trimming the wings and tailplanes rather than extending them.  FWIW, I think Italeri's nose profile is good enough (some suggest it is not deep or fat enough) and the extended fin seems to be tall enough as well.  The main wheel positions are also correctly located further out on the kit.

However, one area that definitely needs addressing is the wing leading edge. The kit shape is that of the standard Hawk, whereas the Goshawk has a straight leading edge, with a single full width leading edge slat.  Adding this slat from some plastic card also addresses the straightness and the more abrupt inner wing joint.  However, having done so it almost becomes essential to drop the flaps.  Mine were simply cut and lowered, although I attempted to create the multi-part slot effect by sanding.

The current T-45C has a glass cockpit (similar to the Hornet), so I smoothed the surface of the instrument panels and had intended to add the spare decals from last month's Hawk 120 (which represents an Indian/Australian glass cockpit).  In the end, I did not do so, as neither panel is easily visible.  The extended ventral fin was cut from some spare plastic card.

The kit decals were old and cracked, so I acquired a set of Caracal T-45C markings, with the intention of building the VX-23 NavAir option from the Strike Test Sqn, since these aircraft have been participating in the F-35 programme.  However after looking at the provided decals, I decided that the "Redhawks" option was too good to miss. Fortunately, these are much simpler than last month's Hawk 20 set, and were applied without problems.  

In summary then, a very easy conversion of a nice kit, plus some superb aftermarket decals, that gives me yet another smart looking Hawk derivative in my collection!

Background image:  A Red Arrow.  How could I possibly build Hawk kits without showing a Red Arrows Picture ?  

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BAe Hawk T.1A

151 (Fighter) Sqn, 2 Tactical Weapons Unit,  RAF Chivenor, Devon, 1983

Advanced Tactical Weapons Trainer.

Airfix 1/72

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the RAF attempted to boost its air defence capabilities by modifying a number of Hawk trainers so that they could carry weapons, specifically 2 Sidewinders and a centreline Aden Gun pod.   In this form, as the T.1A, training reserve Squadrons  became part of the “mixed Fighter Force”, taking full advantage of the Hawk’s agility and combat capabilities.  The plan was to use the radar and Data Link equipped Tornado F.3 as a lead element, escorting and directing Hawk T.1As  which would engage in close range dogfighting.  Hawks could also be allocated to point defence of vulnerable sites, including RAF airfields.  

151 (F) Sqn at Chivenor became part of this force, with a primary role of advanced tactical weapons training, plus a wartime role of air defence.  

Building the Airfix Hawk T.1A:

This is the same kit that I assembled in 2018 in its Red Arrows form.  As I was marooned in bed with a broken leg at the time, it can’t have been that hard to build !

The kit assembles easily and precisely with no real foibles. My cockpit positioning issues with the Mk.120 did not recur.  As with all Hawk kits, the internal windscreen poses a few issues - glueing it will damage the canopy and its intended position is not clear.  Most modellers paint the frame on the outside of the canopy, but although this is probably the best solution, it is not correct - the yellowed line seen is actually its internal bonding.  Achieving this neatly is not something I ever find easy.  

Decals include the set I used, for a wrap around camouflaged aircraft, plus some very nice ones for a 208 Sqn (very tempting to me, as 208 are the former RNAS “Naval 8” Sqn). These latter ones are the same as that provided with the Revell kit, albeit without the anniversary lettering.

However, for this addition  to my Hawk collection, I wanted to have a rather less “fancy” scheme, in other words, a Hawk in working clothes!  As a Scotsman, the St Andrew’s Crosses may also have played their part!!!!!

Some weight is needed to stop the kit being a tail sitter.  Guess what I forgot (aaaaaergh!) - My forward undercarriage bay was packed with lead shot after the act!.  

In summary then, this is a good modern kit that is well recommended.

A few images of the real things.  No Goshawks, unfortunately.  


… And the rest of my Hawk fleet - thus far!