Austria trains the Discovery way [CANSEC17D2]

01 June 2017

Montreal-based Discovery Air Defence Services (Booth 408) has just completed a training campaign with the Eurofighter Typhoons from the Austrian air force. Seven Typhoons deployed from the 1st Squadron of the Überwachungsgeschwader (surveillance wing) at Zeltweg to Wittmund in Germany, from where DA Defence operates A-4N Skyhawks in the adversary role and for other target facilities.

Wittmund is also home to the Typhoons of the German air force’s Jagdgeschwader ( ghter wing) 71 “Richthofen”, and the Luftwaffe forms the main “trade” for DA Defence’s Skyhawks. During their deployment, the Austrian Typhoons not only practised air gunnery against Skyhawks towing aerial sleeve targets, but also practised supersonic intercepts against German Typhoons.

DA Defence and its US subsidiary, Top Aces, operate the world’s largest fleet of privately held fighter aircraft and provide contractorised adversary and training support to both US and Canadian air forces. The company has supported RCAF training activities for more than a decade, and its contract was recently extended pending a decision on the next 10-year CATS (Contractorised Air Training Services) contract, a decision on which is expected in September.

As well as its fast jets, the company operates modi ed business jet aircraft for various electronic attack training and other special missions.

In late 2014, the company deployed A-4Ns to Wittmund, which began flying training sorties under contract to the German air force in January 2015. As part of this activity, the company has dispatched Skyhawks from Wittmund to Decimomannu in Sicily and Gando in the Canary Islands to support German Typhoon training deployments.

Top Aces has operated TA-4J Skyhawks in the US to provide JTAC (joint terminal attack controller) training for the German army.

Discovery is seeing a worldwide trend towards the greater use of contractorised training assets.

In March, the company, along with Air A airs Australia, landed a contract for a two-year trial in Australia. DA Defence will send three Alpha Jets to RAAF Williamtown to provide “Red Air” for the Royal Australian Air Force, JTAC training for the Australian Army and anti-surface missile simulation for the Royal Australian Navy.

A forthcoming opportunity is the RAF’s ASDOT (Air Support to Defence Operational Training) requirement, for which DA Defence has teamed with UK team and collective training experts Inzpire.

(373 words)