Posted by John McHaleWARTON, England, 26 March 2011. The navigation system and weapons system software and hardware upgrade South Africa's Hawk jet trainers was completed by BAE Systems.BAE Systems worked with Advanced Technologies and Engineering in South Africa to enable the Hawk Mk120 to share simulated radar data across multiple platforms. For example the South African Hawk Mk120 can see the same data as the South African air force Gripen and South African navy Corvette frigate while on a training sortie.The upgrade, known as Operational Capability 4, includes the introduction of software to simulate the use of infrared and radar-guided missiles. The upgrade also involves the replacement of the existing analogue video recording with a digital recording capability. This means greater flexibility in analyzing the data post sortie, improving the quality of the debrief process for both the aircrew and ground crew.“Integrating these upgrades onto the South African Air Force’s Hawks will significantly enhance the training capability of the aircraft, ensuring the student pilots learn in a more realistic environment, significantly reducing the cost of training on expensive platforms,” says Mike Swales, international training director for BAE Systems. “Additionally they are also better prepared for the challenge of flying front-line aircraft.”The capability upgrade has begun on eight aircraft based at Makhado air force base, Limpopo Province, South Africa with the remainder of the Hawk Mk120 fleet due to be upgraded before the end of the year.BAE Systems delivered 24 Hawk Mk120 Lead In Fighter Trainers to South Africa where they are operated by the South African air force’s 85 Combat Flying School at air force base Makhado. South Africa’s Hawks are used for training Gripen pilots and weapons officers. The Hawk aircraft have been configured so that their cockpits and systems closely resemble those on the Gripen advanced fighter.