SU-27s are an important part of Russian and Chinese air power but Mr ten Cate insists that ECA is not aiming to imitate either. “Russian fighter jets have been sold around the world so they are widely used,” he says. “We’re a generic enemy.”
A recruitment drive is under way for up to 45 qualified fighter pilots, as well as maintenance technicians. An advertisement was placed in an aviation trade publication last month offering pilots a salary of €160,000 a year – more than all but the most senior commercial airline pilots.
Pretty cool, and check out the salary the pilots of these things will get? But what is really interesting is that this company will have a very unique capability. By constantly wargaming and learning the limitations and capabilities of these aircraft, they will be able to learn the best way to use them. That information will definitely be used in future planning and training, along with the incredible war gaming these folks will be able to offer.
The other interesting angle is that the only articles that I have found about this, is the FT ones I posted below, and a Russian Times article that bashed the hell out of the idea. Of course they called this company a ‘private army’ and mercenary and whatever ‘evil’ western name they could use to fire up any criticism of the deal. A little miffed maybe? lol No commentary from China yet.
Interesting move, and the jobs it will produce locally will be great for Iceland. It will also help them strategically, by setting up a school that will help their air force, and friendly air forces throughout the world who wish to gain a jet fighting capability for defeating Chinese and Russian aircraft. Not a bad gig for ECA Program Ltd. –Matt
ECA has agreed to buy up to 33 Sukhoi Su-27 fighters.
By Andrew Ward in Stockholm
August 30 2010
Iceland’s Keflavik airbase, a bulwark of western security during the cold war, would be home to two squadrons of Russian-made fighter jets under plans being considered by Reykjavik.
The Icelandic government is in talks about renting the airbase to a private company that says it is buying up to €1.2bn ($1.5bn) of Sukhoi warplanes from Belarus for use as a mock enemy in military training exercises.
ECA Program says it has already signed up five air forces keen to test their pilots and jets against an aircraft most commonly flown by the Russian and Chinese militaries.