ATAC to provide ‘Red Air’ training at Eglin AFB

On September 29, the Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) announced that it had been contracted to provide adversary air live training at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida.

The deal – worth US$92m – was awarded to the US-based defence contractor by the US Air Force (USAF) under its Combat Air Forces (CAF) Contracted Air Support (CAS) programme. Under which, ATAC will use its fleet of former-French Air Force Dassault Mirage F1 fighters to provide adversary air – otherwise known as ‘Red Air’ – training to F-22 and F-35 pilots at the Florida base. Along with Eglin AFB, the company will provide the same services at Holloman AFB, New Mexico, and Luke AFB in Arizona.

Mirage F1 [ATAC]
ATAC purchased 63 former-French Air Force Dassault Mirage F1s in July 2017. After undergoing a modification process and being re-registered with US civil codes, the fleet will be employed to provide a contractor-operated adversary air training solution to the USAF. ATAC 

Scott Stacy, ATAC’s general manager, said: “ATAC is excited to have been selected to provide adversary training at Eglin, Luke and Holloman AFBs, and we stand ready to serve additional future operating locations and customers as their needs evolve.”

Flight operations are scheduled to begin from Eglin AFB by January 2021, with the deal catering for more than 1,100 sorties per year for four and a half years. The company is expecting to start training from Holloman AFB by the end of October and at Luke AFB by the end of 2020. ATAC has also been contracted to provide contracted close air support (CCAS) training for USAF Special Operations Command Joint Terminal Air Controllers (JTACs) under the CAF CAS programme.

This contract is the last of an initial round of six operating locations, which the USAF has selected under its CAF CAS programme. The air arm intends to eventually contract such services at up to 22 operating locations – 12 for adversary air and ten for CCAS training services.