Defence aviation training specialist Draken Europe has announced the formal signing of a teaming agreement with the Czech fighter jet manufacturer Aero Vodochody Aerospace (AVA). The agreement will see the two companies working together in support of the RAF's new Interim Red Air Aggressor Training Service (IRAATS) and will also identify and develop long-term maintenance, upgrade, training and support opportunities for Draken's Teesside-basesd fleet of civil-registered L-159E "Honey Badger" aircraft.
Draken Europe's eight-strong fleet of L-159E aircraft is shortly to be in service as the "enemy", flying against UK armed forces personnel as part of the Royal Air Force's recently signed Interim Red Air Aggressorr Service. The service is the first of its kind in the UK and represents the delivery of an entirely new training capability for the RAF. The service is contractor-owned, contractor-operated, reducing the overall cost to the UK Government and enabling uniformed pilots and engineers to be utilised on front line units.
The innovative service will see Air-to-Air, Target, Threat Simulation and Mission Augmentation training delivered over the next three years, with operations due to commence this summer. The contract represents a significantly enhnaced capability over the previous Hawk T1 service delivered by the RAF's recently disbanded 100 Sqn.
Under the IRAATS contract, Draken Europe will employ experienced ex-military pilots capable of replicating tactics of adversaries. It has also seen the creation of 25+ highly skilled, well-paid engineering and ground crew jobs in the Teesside area.