The Hawk Fighter model served as a prototype in the war against the now-extinct (ish) Commerce Union. For those days it was tough but with 1 Weapons slot and only 2 Standard slots, it fell to the newer, more weaponized or more armored. The Hawk, however, is the cheapest and easiest to pilot fighter and that is what has kept it in Federation Fleet Service all this time. As it has virtually no room for Armor/Shields, it's best role is Cruiser/Frigate defence, as as long as a Hawk stays above the cruiser, it can rain hell on the enemies who might be in the minimum range of the cruiser or any fighters who are bombing it.
The Hawk: It might be small and outdated but it gets the job done!