Adversary experience [CANSEC2016D2]

26 May 2016

Discovery Air Defence Services (Booth 408) has recently passed a number of important milestones.

The company has just logged its 58,000th accident-free flying hour on contracted air combat training services around the world.

In the meantime, two of DA Defence’s pilots have just notched up 3,000 hours flying the Dassault- Dornier Alpha Jet, becoming the first pilots in North America to achieve this feat. The total for each equates to around 10 years of full-time fast-jet flying. Both pilots already had thousands of hours flying Hornets, including tours as Fighter Weapons Instructors.

Ten other DA Defence pilots have passed the 2,000-hour mark in the Alpha Jet.

“In 10 years, our pilots have accumulated an impressive volume of flight hours providing contracted services,” said James ‘Preston’ Manning, vice president of iCATS, DA Defence. “It’s no exaggeration to say that we have some of the world’s most experienced fighter pilots; their professionalism and airmanship is acknowledged and valued greatly by our customers.”

These impressive milestones underline the experience that DA Defence brings to the contractorised training market.

The company has been the exclusive provider of dissimilar air combat and other services to the Royal Canadian Air Force for several years, supplying Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) training to the Canadian Army and Special Operations Forces; Red Air, air-to-air gunnery, practice munitions drop, electronic attack and naval target tow training to CF-18 aircrews and the Royal Canadian Navy; and live fire target practice to the military. Now the CATS (Contracted Airborne Training Services) is up for review, and Discovery is bidding to retain its contract.

For the renewed contract, Discovery is proposing a mixed fleet approach of Alpha Jets, A-4 Skyhawks and target-towing aircraft. The use of the Alpha Jet for some training requirements offers a lower-cost solution for missions that do not require the capabilities of the A-4. The company currently uses 16 Alpha Jets and two Westwind business jets to fulfil its contract, the latter being equipped with a Discovery-developed winch and government-supplied targets.

DA Defence highlights not only the long experience it has in providing contracted support, but also the high standards to which its fleet is maintained.

Aircraft undergo a thorough overhaul and inspection prior to entering the fleet, while they are serviced and inspected at short intervals to ensure not only that they are safe, but also to maximise availability. Maintenance schedules and procedures exceed the specification of the OEMs.

Discovery also provides an all-Canadian service, using a local supply chain. Its aircraft are certified to both civilian Transport Canada and RCAF military standards.

DA Defence is also active outside of Canada, with activities undertaken in the USA and Germany, where A-4N Skyhawks are operated from Wittmund in support of Luftwaffe front-line fighter training. That operation began in late 2014 and has already achieved 2,000 flight hours. The aircraft fly under a Canadian civil registration, and are also approved by EASA.

Looking to the future, DA Defence has secured the availability of F-16 supersonic fourth-generation aircraft, and is currently seeking contracts. The operation of supersonic aircraft is a natural extension of the adversary programme, helping to keep the training more realistic by representing potential threat aircraft types more closely.

Around the world there are many more opportunities for providing contracted adversary support. DA Defence suggests that there are sufficient suitable surplus fighters available to support a considerable expansion in operations over the next 10 years, and enough to see the CATS contract into the 2030s if required.

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