Image © Finnish Air Force

Image © Finnish Air Force

The Midnight Hawks, the Finnish Air Force’s National Display Team, will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Hawk jet training in the Finnish Air Force at the Kauhava Air Show.

The Midnight Hawks aircraft have received anniversary markings to the side stabilizer of its tail in honor of the anniversary year.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Hawk’s first flight in Finland. The Air Force’s first Hawk Mk 51 jet training aircraft, the HW-302, arrived in Pori from Dunsfold, UK, on 16 December 1980, flown by pilot Major Paavo Janhunen and engineer Major Keijo Koko .

In the early 1980s, the Hawks replaced the Fouga Magister fleet as the advanced jet and weapons training aircraft for Air Force pilots. In the first phase, 50 Hawks were acquired, 46 of which were assembled in Finland by Valmet. Most of the original aircraft have been retired.

The Air Force’s Hawk fleet has been supplemented with seven newer Mk 51As acquired in 1993 and 18 low-hours Mk 66s purchased from the Swiss Air Force in 2008. There are currently a total of 31 fully modernized Hawks in Finnish Air Force service.

The Hawk has proven to be a reliable and cost-effective jet training machine, which will continue in service well into the 2030s. Thanks to a mid-life update which includes a modern glass cockpit, new data links and structural upgrades , the Hawk will continue to provide high-quality flight training to the Finnish Air Force for many years to come.

(All images copyright of the Finnish Air Force)