Combat pilots from the Finnish Air Force’s 41st Fighter Squadron deployed to RAF Valley recently to take part in Exercise Finnish Hawk with Valley’s IV (R) Squadron. The exercise is part of a bi-lateral agreement between the two air forces to exchange ideas and experience for Qualified Flying Instructors in phase 4 fast jet pilot training.
A Hawk T2 from IV(R) Sqn, a Hawk T1 of 208(R) Sqn and a Finnish AF Hawk 51 prior to conducting air combat training over North Wales.
The Finns operated their BAE Hawk Mk66 aircraft, and IV (R) Sqn the latest BAE Hawk T Mk 2. Both RAF and FAF crews practiced daily air combat routines and simulated attack profiles across Wales and the North West of England. Finnish crews were able to fly with their RAF counterparts in the Hawk T Mk 2, allowing both RAF and FAF personnel to learn from each other and enhance capabilities.
The Finnish Air Force operates the Hawk in the fast jet training role, and the aircraft, while externally similar to the RAF’s Hawk T Mk 1, have undergone an extensive avionics and cockpit upgrade to allow students to better transition to the F-18 Hornet that equips the Finnish Air Force fast jet fleet. No 41 squadron of the Finnish Air Force is based in Kauhava and like Valley’s IV (R) Squadron trains fast jet pilots.
Exercise Finnish Hawk
Wing Commander Dan Beard, Officer Commanding IV Squadron said: “The 41 Sqn detachment from the Finnish Air Force has been of great value to IV(R) Sqn. We have exchanged many ideas on the training, tactics and procedures used in the development of our fast jet students and have utilised their presence to develop our own instructors’ combat skills. We hope we can return soon to Finland to continue this close relationship”
Editor: Sqn Ldr Williams
RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2013