Adour Engine Production May Be Suspended in 2019 and 2020

by Douglas Royce, Senior Aerospace Analyst, Forecast International.

Demand for the Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour engine comes from a single application: BAE System’s Hawk jet trainer. The order book for the Hawk jet trainer currently includes orders from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Deliveries of 22 aircraft ordered by Saudi Arabia in May 2012 began in April 2016. The Saudi government added to this order in February 2016 with a second order for 22 aircraft. BAE Systems completed delivery of the initial order in 2017. Production of all the Saudi aircraft is forecast to be completed in 2019, but BAE Systems may have delivered the last aircraft in 2018.

Production may be suspended in 2019 and 2020. While BAE secured a firm order from Qatar for nine aircraft in June 2018, the company said in its contract announcement that deliveries would not begin until 2021. That would leave a gap in deliveries, but this is not unprecedented. BAE suspended production of the aircraft before when, prior to the Saudi order, it closed its Hawk production line in Broughton due to a lack of demand. However, we believe BAE Systems will try to keep the line warm in the near term, possibly by building the aircraft now and storing them for delivery later.

The Hawk competes primarily against the Leonardo M-346, Korea Aerospace Industries T-50, and Yakovlev Yak-130. It is the oldest design among the four aircraft, and its appeal in recent years has been limited to a shrinking number of Middle Eastern kingdoms. The arrival of the all-new jet trainer Boeing is developing for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X trainer replacement program will only increase the competition facing the Hawk. While a new order is possible, we believe it is more likely that production will be suspended after BAE Systems delivers Qatar’s last aircraft.

Meanwhile, HAL produces a version of the Hawk 100 in India under license for the Indian military. The manufacturer will deliver the last of 123 aircraft ordered to date by the Indian government in 2019. We expect the Indian government to order more aircraft soon, either to expand the training fleet or to equip the Indian Air Force’s Surya Kiran aerobatic display team. A temporary suspension of the production line in India is possible.

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