Originally designated Hawker P.1182, the Hawk has been developed into a range of world-beating trainer and combat aircraft. No prototype was built, the first five aircraft off the line being allocated to flight trials, begun on 21 August 1974. Deliveries commenced in 1976, and in 2001 the Hawk T.Mk 1 and T.Mk 1A weapons trainer remained as the RAF's only basic/advanced jet trainer. There is no sign of a replacement despite rapidly dwindling airframe life among the badly overstretched fleet.
In November 1981 the US Navy selected the Hawk as its new-generation trainer, and ultimately procured the Hawk Mk 60-based T-45A Goshawk.
Export two-seat Hawk variants include the Mk 50 series, based closely on the Hawk T.Mk 1 and sold to customers including Finland, Indonesia and Kenya; the Mk 60 series with the uprated 5 700-lb st (225.40-kN) Adour Mk 861 engine for customers including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Switzerland and Zimbabwe; and the heavily modified Mk 100 series.
The later features a revised wing, with wingtip missile launch rails, advanced attack avionics and a chisel nose housing optional forward-looking infra-red or laser sensors. With its advanced/weapons training and formidable attack capabilities, the Mk 100 has been exported to Abu Dhabi, Malaysia and Oman. A radical and surprising development of the basic Hawk airframe is represented by the Mk 200 series. This single-seat air-superiority and ground-attack aircraft has an APG-66H radar in a revised nose radome and a pair of in-built 25-mm ADEN cannon beneath the cockpit floor. Exports of this variant have been made to Indonesia, Malaysia and Oman.