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Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) T-45 Goshawk

Naval / Carrierborne Advanced Jet Trainer Aircraft

Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) T-45 Goshawk

Naval / Carrierborne Advanced Jet Trainer Aircraft


The US Navy T-45 Goshawk is a highly-modified version of the BAe Hawk land-based trainer - revised for the rigors of carrier operations.
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ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1991
STATUS: Active, In-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): British Aerospace - UK / McDonnell Douglas / Boeing - USA
OPERATORS: United States

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the McDonnell Douglas / Boeing T-45A Goshawk model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 39.34 feet (11.99 meters)
WIDTH: 30.81 feet (9.39 meters)
HEIGHT: 13.39 feet (4.08 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 9,833 pounds (4,460 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 14,081 pounds (6,387 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Rolls-Royce Turbomeca F405-RR-401 turbofan developing 5,527lbf of thrust.
SPEED (MAX): 645 miles-per-hour (1038 kilometers-per-hour; 560 knots)
RANGE: 800 miles (1,288 kilometers; 695 nautical miles)
CEILING: 42,487 feet (12,950 meters; 8.05 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 8,000 feet-per-minute (2,438 meters-per-minute)


Capable of carrying practice bombs, rocket pods, and fuel tanks as well as a crew equipment cargo pod.

Series Model Variants
• T-45A - Initial Production Model Designation; base trainer.
• T-45B - Proposed land-based T-45A version for use by the USN; since abandoned.
• T-45C - Based on T-45A with revised glass cockpit and improvements throughout; currently the standardized Goshawk.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) T-45 Goshawk Naval / Carrierborne Advanced Jet Trainer Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 4/4/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The McDonnell Douglas/Boeing T-45 Goshawk is a navalized version of the land-based British Aerospace (now BAe Systems) Hawk - specifically the Hawk Mk.60 mark. Unlike the land-based Hawk, however, the Goshawk is utilized by the United States Navy as a carrier-borne trainer. BAe Systems and McDonnell Douglas, the latter now serving as a subsidiary of The Boeing Company, have jointly produced the Goshawk trainer which serves both the US Navy and USMC aviation training programs. Despite its 1990s pedigree, the T-45 is expected to serve the American military well into 2035. To date, over 200 Goshawk airframes have been delivered.

The original BAe Systems Hawk - debuting on August 21st, 1974 - is used by Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Finland, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe. These often retain their ground attack capabilities to serve as a cost-effective, dual-role performer. Finland became the first foreign recipient of the Hawk and the aircraft also forms the inventory of the famed British Royal Air Force's "Red Arrows" acrobatic team as well as acting as the primary jet trainer of the Royal Air Force proper. Switzerland at one point fielded Hawks beginning in 1992 but have since retired their fleet in 2002 and sold several to Finland in 2007.

Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) T-45 Goshawk (Cont'd)

Naval / Carrierborne Advanced Jet Trainer Aircraft

Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) T-45 Goshawk (Cont'd)

Naval / Carrierborne Advanced Jet Trainer Aircraft

In 1977, the United States Navy found itself probing for solutions to upgrade its existing fleet of aging North American T-2C "Buckeye" and Douglas TA-4J "Skyhawk II" jet-powered trainers with a modernized advanced carrier-based type. The next logical step became the formation of the "VTXTS" program in 1978 to oversee the requirement. British Aerospace seized the opportunity and forged an alliance with American-based McDonnell Douglas to promote the aircraft as a possible development. The USN took to the proposal and thusly awarded the joint venture a production contract in 1981 - this version of the Hawk to be a heavily modified form to fulfill the USN requirement for carrier-based operations.

While the base Hawk airframe was left relatively untouched, revisions were enacted to include a reinforced structure applicable to the rigors of carrier work. A tail arrestor hook and catapult provisions were installed and the landing gear spacing was revised. Improvements were made to the aircraft's low-speed qualities to be more in line with those as required by carrier landings. First flight of the revised Hawk occurred on April 16th, 1988 and formal introduction into USN service followed in 1991 under the nickname of "Goshawk". Component production was split between facilities in England and in the United States with the British handling the wings, main fuselage, intakes and the vertical tail fin while the Americans took to installation of the tail wings, cockpit and nose assembly, the undercarriage and engines as well as final assembly. British Aerospace became BAe Systems while McDonnell Douglas was eventually absorbed by aviation giant Boeing in the late 1990s - thusly changing the formal designation of the T-45 Goshawk only by brand name.

The Goshawk has existed in only two major variants beginning with the base T-45A two-seat advanced jet trainer. These were originally fielded with analog-based cockpits consistent with the time. The T-45C was later developed as an upgraded and improved version of the T-45A series. Improvements included the introduction of inertial navigation and a digital cockpit. As such, the T-45C model now represents the newest Goshawk standard to which all previous T-45A models are being upgraded to via the T-45 "RAMP" initiative ("Required Avionics Modernization Program"). The T-45C began deliveries in December of 1997.

It is of note that the designation of "T-45B" did exist. This was a proposed Goshawk development that would have produced a land-based variant of the T-45A sans the inherent carrier capabilities. The initiative began in 1994 though any fruitful development on the T-45B was eventually halted in favor of more cost effective alternatives.

Externally, the T-45 series features twin seating for student (front) and instructor (rear) in a tandem arrangement. Design of the aircraft is quite conventional by any standard and sports a forward-set cockpit with excellent visibility over the nose and to the sides. The instructor maintains a commanding view up and over the forward cockpit. The fuselage is relatively short and sports two small, oval intakes to each side, aspirating the single engine mounting buried within the middle-aft fuselage. Wings are low-mounted with sweep along the leading edge and a straight trailing edge. The fuselage spine tapers down to form the base of the single vertical tail fin which is further complemented by a pair of swept horizontal tail surfaces mounted higher than the main wing assemblies. The engine exhausts through a ring at the extreme aft of the fuselage. The undercarriage is fully retractable and is of a tricycle arrangement. The nose leg retracts upwards under the cockpit floor while the main legs fold towards centerline. All landing gear legs are single-wheeled. An arrestor hook for snatching deck cables is fitted to the rear underside under the empennage base.

The aircraft is powered by a British/French Rolls-Royce Turbomeca F405-RR-401 turbofan engine (also known as the "Adour") delivering up to 5,527 lbs of thrust. Maximum speed is listed at 645 miles per hour with a range out to 805 miles. Service ceiling is approximately 42,500 feet with a rate-of-climb nearing 8,000 feet per minute.

As a dedicated trainer aircraft, the Goshawk does not carry any official USN inventory armament but can be fitted with ordnance loads in the form of practice bombs or rocket pods as well as external fuel stores for increased ranges. Beyond this capability, cargo pods may also be carried as required.

Incidentally, the term "Goshawk" is related to a bird of prey species.


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (645mph).

    Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the McDonnell Douglas / Boeing T-45A Goshawk's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
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Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Supported Arsenal
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft external fuel tank
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
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Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
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Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.