The Indian Navy has ordered 17 Hawk advanced jet trainer (AJT) aircraft to train its aviators as a part of its expanding aerial capabilities.

The UK-origin Hawks will be used to train fighter pilots that fly the MiG 29K fighters and the naval light combat aircraft (LCA).

The Hawks can be used as ground attack or air defence aircraft in times of war and are capable of carrying 6,800lb of weapons, rockets, bombs and air-to-air missiles.

The AJTs are capable of flight speeds equal to 1.2 times the speed of sound, and can also be used as a combat aircraft.

According to Indian Navy sources, the deal worth Rs30.42bn ($647m) is a follow-on order with BAE Systems for an additional 57 AJTs, of which 40 are for IAF and the remaining 17 for Navy.

The aircraft will be built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at its Bangalore facilities with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2013.