Illustration of red hawk plane used by the Red Arrows

Hawk aircraft

The dual control BAE Systems Hawk T1 has been used by the Red Arrows since 1979, replacing the Folland Gnat.

The aircraft are essentially the same as those flown by Advanced Flying Training students at Royal Air Force Valley, with the exception of smoke generation modifications and a slightly uprated engine which gives a faster response time.

The smoke generation system pumps diesel mixed with appropriately coloured dye into the jet exhaust to produce the colourful vapour trails that the Red Arrows are famous for. These trails are used mainly for flight safety reasons so the pilots can judge wind speed and direction whilst performing their displays. However, the effects of the trails also look good, enhancing the show for the audience on the ground. Each aircraft can carry enough diesel and dye to create five minutes of white smoke, one minute of red and one minute of blue during the display.

Length: 11.9 metres (39ft 3in)

9.4 metres (30ft 10in)

Height: 4 metres (13ft 2in)

Maximum speed: Mach 1.2

Maximum altitude: 48,000 ft

Maximum take-off weight: 5,700 kg

Range: 1,000 nm

Powerplant: Rolls-Royce Adour

Engine type: Twin shaft turbofan

Thrust: 5,200lbs

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