Wow, this is cool. A big thanks to one of my readers for sending me this. The reason I wanted to post this here on the blog is because we are now going to see private companies, competing in the skies with the US Air Force for Top Gun style aggressor support training. So private pilots will be flying in company owned ‘fighter jets’, simulating air to air combat against the most advanced military air force on the planet. That is significant.
For one, it is just crazy to see the kinds of aircraft that these companies will be flying. Most are a mix of eastern bloc stuff, that is cost effective. But there is some other stuff that is pretty advanced. Did you know that DA Defense is actually gearing up to buy F 16’s? lol
I believe out of all the companies listed below, Draken International has the most privately owned jet aircraft. They were also the ones that were a part of the initial test at Nellis AFB for this concept. With this coming contract, I expect to see the numbers of aircraft increase for all of these companies.
I did not see how much this contract would be worth, but I expect it to be pretty sizable. We will see how it goes and I will make the edit when I hear of more info on this. Claire Lee Chennault‘s ghost is looking on with profound interest and envy. –Matt
Draken International website here.
Discovery Air Defence Service website here.
Airborne Tactical Advantage Company website here.
USAF gears up for huge Red Air contracts
March 16th, 2017
The US Air Force plans to release a solicitation to industry for a massive 40,000 hours of contracted aggressor support training at 12 different bases. It comes following a year-long experiment at Nellis AFB, Nevada, for Draken International.
The multi-award contract, which is expected in January 2019, is huge and will have the existing contractor air service providers scrambling to win contracts.
The USAF says it will release a draft solicitation to industry in July as it seeks to provide the additional adversary air and support at 12 different bases. Nellis AFB alone will take 11,250 hours of the requested flight hours from the planned total 36,231 hours annually.
As well as Nellis, other installations that will benefit from additional red air comprise Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina; JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; Holloman AFB, New Mexico; Eglin AFB, Florida; JB Langley-Eustis, Virginia; Tyndall AFB, Florida; Kingsley Field, Oregon; Luke AFB, Arizona; Hill AFB, Utah and Tucson Airport, Arizona.
The increased use of contractor owned, contractor operated (COCO) adversary aircraft has been building for several years. Air Combat Command (ACC) has conducted an analysis of Adversary Air (ADAIR) capabilities to fill a ‘significant gap’ in its training requirements. The service reportedly suffered from a shortage of adversary 3,000 sorties at Nellis AFB, Nevada, during 2016 and that number is expected to rise as F-35 training ramps up.
The USAF currently only operates two aggressor squadrons; the 18th AGRS at Eielson AFB, Alaska, and the 64th AGRS at Nellis. The 65th AGRS, that flew F-15C/Ds, disbanded in 2014. Draken International and Discovery Air Defence Services are both offering contractor air services, along with Textron, which in 2016 purchased the former ATAC (Airborne Tactical Advantage Co).
The service first evaluated the use of commercial ‘Red Air’ when it awarded a one-year contract to Draken International last September. During the ‘proof-of-concept’ evaluation Draken’s radar-equipped Skyhawks have been flying sorties from Nellis in support of the USAF Weapons School and the F-35 Joint Operational Test Team.
The latest RFI is seeking information regarding supersonic aircraft that are equipped with radar and limited sensor and datalink capabilities — it points to more F-16s.