Author Topic: Red Air: "Canada Weighs Competing Bids For Airborne Training Services"  (Read 8083 times)

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Offline MarkOttawa

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US competitor for Top Aces:

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Canada Weighs Competing Bids For Airborne Training Services

Canada is on the cusp of awarding a 10-year contract for airborne training services worth as much as $1.5 billion. Since 2005, the Canadian Armed Forces have employed Montreal-based Discovery Air Defence as the primary provider of aggressor support for their Boeing CF-18 Hornet squadrons, as well as for electronic warfare practice and target towing. That contract is now up for renewal, with Discovery hoping to retain its position against a rival bid from Draken International, which has teamed up with Canadian training and simulation shop CAE. The Canadian government says it will pick a winner for the Contracted Airborne Training Services (CATS) program by year-end.

Canada divested its organic adversary air and electronic attack training capabilities in the early 2000s due to budget cuts and an aging aircraft inventory, and soon turned to Top Aces, bought by Discovery in 2007, for support. Since then, Discovery’s military operations have expanded to bases in Victoria, British Columbia; Cold Lake, Alberta; Ottawa; Bagotville, Quebec and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Its fleet includes 16 Dornier Alpha Jets, used mostly as aggressors, and four Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Westwind 1124 business jets, which tow targets and carry electronic warfare and threat simulation pods. It also owns 10 McDonnell Douglas A-4N/TA-4J Skyhawks, which are currently supporting a German contract.

The company’s Alpha Jets also routinely deploy along with the CF-18s to flag exercises in the U.S., such as trips to Naval Air Station Key West and Tyndall AFB in Florida. Discovery won’t say much about its CATS offer, but will likely recompete its Alpha Jets and IAI Westwinds and maybe even put forward Lockheed F-16s that it says it is acquiring from an unnamed Middle East country...


...
http://aviationweek.com/combat-aircraft/canada-weighs-competing-bids-airborne-training-services
Mark
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Offline Retired AF Guy

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Types of aircraft  Draken Int'l has in its inventory.
"Leave one wolf alive, and the sheep are never safe."

Arya Stark

Offline SupersonicMax

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IMO, what we need in term of Red Air, on top of what we already have, is an airplane capable of sustained supersonic flight and equipped with a Fire Control Radar. 

Having said that, in my experience, Top Aces has provided outstanding, personalised support and most of its pilots are FWIC graduates and some are still flying the Hornet in the reserves.  This is conductive to some excellent training (being current on current tactics and knowing individual pilots certainly helps exploit weak areas).

I am curious to see the outcome of the competition.

Offline Spencer100

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Has this been awarded? 

Online BobSlob

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IMO, what we need in term of Red Air, on top of what we already have, is an airplane capable of sustained supersonic flight and equipped with a Fire Control Radar. 

Having said that, in my experience, Top Aces has provided outstanding, personalised support and most of its pilots are FWIC graduates and some are still flying the Hornet in the reserves.  This is conductive to some excellent training (being current on current tactics and knowing individual pilots certainly helps exploit weak areas).

I am curious to see the outcome of the competition.

Although I dunno if they're flying them yet, Top Aces/Discovery Air purchased some F16s.

Offline SupersonicMax

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Has this been awarded?

Yes, Discovery Air Defense Services (now Top Aces) was awarded the contract.

BobSlob: acutely aware.

Offline MarkOttawa

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Top Aces one of several companies winning USAF competition (lots of photos at link):

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Air Force Hires Seven Companies In Long-Awaited Mega Adversary Air Support Contract
Years in the making, the deal is a long-awaited moment for the contractor aggressor services industry and it will be a game-changer.

The Air Force has quietly hired not one, but seven different companies to provide "red air" adversary support to help U.S. military combat jet pilots train at various bases across the United States. This massive multi-billion dollar contract is the culmination of a major effort within the service that has been years in the making to increasingly rely on contractors to provide these services in order to improve flexibility for training requirements and to save money.

Air Combat Command awarded the subcontracts to Air USA Inc., Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) LLC., Blue Air Training, Coastal Defense, Draken International, Tactical Air Support (TacAir), and Top Aces Corporation as part of a single, larger deal on Oct. 18, 2019. The Pentagon's official announcement notice did not say how much each company stands to make under their respective deals, which will cover work through 2024, though it is possible that there may be performance-based incentives for additional work as time goes on. The Air Force has capped the over-arching contract at no more than $6.4 billion, less than the $7.5 billion it had originally estimated it would cost.

"Contractors will provide complete contracted air support services for realistic and challenging advanced adversary air threats and close air support threats," the Pentagon's contracting notice explained. It also said that the Air Force had received a total of eight bids, but did not name the one company that did not subsequently receive an award.

"Work will be performed in multiple locations across the Combat Air Force," it continued without offering any additional details on the locations. As of June 2018, Air Combat Command was looking at a number of different potential schedules, which you can read about in more detail in this past War Zone story, all of which would eventually provide aggressor and other training support at a dozen bases throughout the United States, including Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. The Air Force has also said in the past that the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps could potentially piggyback onto the deal as time goes on, but there is no mention that those services has sought to take advantage of this contract already...

ATAC, Draken, TacAir, and Top Aces, the latter of which has its main headquarters in Canada, represent some of the biggest names in the industry worldwide and all have previous experience working with the U.S. military, among others [emphasis added]. Since 2017, the first three companies have all been notably expanding their fleets to include new, more capable aircraft that are better able to mimic 4th generation fighter jets specifically in order to better compete for this contract...

Top Aces says on its website that it is in the process of acquiring some number of Lockheed Martin F-16A Viper fighter jets, almost certainly to support this contract ["Future Fleet" here: https://topaces.com/our-fleet/]. It's unclear what the source of those aircraft might be, but ATAC had considered buying a number of F-16AMs from Jordan for an earlier aggressor contract with the Navy, but lost that deal to TacAir and its F-5ATs, a decision you can read more about in detail in this past War Zone story. It is possible that those Jordanian Vipers may now find their way to Top Aces, which otherwise operates older Franco-German Alpha Jets and A-4s, though there are other sources of early model F-16s, as well...


Front to back, an F-21 Kfir, Hawker Hunter Mk 58, and L-39 Albatros, all belonging to ATAC.
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/30557/air-force-hires-seven-companies-in-long-awaited-mega-adversary-air-support-contract

Mark
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Offline MarkOttawa

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More on USAF Red Air:
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ACC to Award ‘Red Air’ Contracts for Six Bases

Air Combat Command plans to award multiple contracts for adversary air support at six bases as early as April. But the scope of the project, once anticipated to be worth up to $6 billion, will be much smaller than hoped.

Seven companies were awarded indefinite delivery, indefinitely quantity contracts in October 2019, allowing them to bid on specific task orders. Bids for the first round of awards, due March 31, will comprise just 8,848 sorties at six bases for the first year, plus an optional three more years for a total of 26,052 sorties. Awards are expected in April or May.

The original multi-award contract, known as Combat Air Force/Contracted Air Support (CAF/CAS), had been envisioned to cover 40,000 hours of adversary air at 12 fighter bases, plus 10,000 hours to train joint terminal attack controllers at nine Army bases.

The six bases, base sorties, and total sorties allowable if all options are exercised, are:
Operating Location   Base Sorties   Max. Total Sorties
Kingsley Field ANGB, Ore.   800   3,200
Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.   1,530   6,120
Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.   1,558   6,232
Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.   1,100   4,400
Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.   1,000   4,000
Kelly Field, Texas   530   2,120

“The math for the original plan was based on what we can do to maximize using contract resources to improve the readiness of the force,” ACC boss Gen. Mike Holmes said at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., last month. “Every plan comes up against budgets. What we have now is a matter of what’s affordable.”

ACC is prioritizing fighter training bases, with the goal of producing more pilots. “If we don’t get the money to do the entire thing, I’d like to focus on supporting the training enterprise,” Holmes said. “The general priorities are the flying training units, [and] support doing advanced training units at Nellis [Air Force Base, Nev.]. That’s why I want to think about doing some research on how we can use the T-7 in different ways.”

Holmes said he’s “happy to have some investment in contract Red Air because it does help,” but if forced to make a choice, he would rather “season our pilots instead of seasoning contract pilots.”

The small contract air industry is still banking that more opportunity will come. Firms are building up and modernizing their fighter fleets to meet Air Force requirements with the hope that USAF will issue more task orders in coming years.

Mick Guthals, senior manager of business development for one such company, Tactical Air Support Inc., of Reno, Nev., said a “staggered release” of task orders was always the expectation. He anticipates additional fighter bases, such as Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., which is home to F-22 Raptors, on the 2021 task order list.

“From an industry perspective, we want more bases so we can have more airplanes flying,” he said. However, he noted that industry also is challenged by how quickly it can get its air worthiness approvals and remanufacture its airplanes...[lots more]
https://www.airforcemag.com/acc-to-award-red-air-contracts-for-six-bases/

Mark
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Offline Spencer100

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Offline PuckChaser

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No option for Planey McPlaneFace?

Offline MarkOttawa

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Top Aces buys a whole lot of Alpha Jets from Belgium:

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Top Aces buys Belgian Air Force Alpha Jets

The Belgische Luchtmacht (Belgian Air Force) succeeded in selling 25 surplus Alpha Jets. The aircraft were already offered for sale in October 2018 *).

Top Aces Inc., a company headquartered in Dorval, Quebec (Canada), acquired the Alpha Jet 1B+ training aircraft including spare parts. The defence contractor offers contracted airborne training services (CATS). It was founded in 2000 by three former Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 fighter pilots. It operates a fleet of modernized fighter aircraft to provide Red Air threat simulation. The fleet of Alpha Jets will be more than doubled. Next to the former Belgian ones they have a fleet of 20 former German Air Force Alpha Jets.

The Belgian Government signed a contract in September 1975 in which they purchased 33 Dassault-Breguet/Dornier (AMD) Alpha Jet 1Bs as an advanced jet trainer. The high wing aircraft replaced two Belgian jet trainers, the Lockheed T-33A and Fouga Magister. The first Alpha Jet (serial AT01, the 5th production Alpha Jet built) was handed over to the BAC on 30 June 1978 and delivered on 6 October 1978. All other Alpha Jets AT02 to AT33, were assembled by SABCA at Gosselies (Belgium). The final and 33rd Alpha Jet was delivered in July 1980. On 13 January 2019, the final three aircraft returned from Cazaux air base (France) after more than fifteen years of joint Fighter training with the Armée de l'air (AdlA, French Air Force).

*) SFN 17 October 2018, Belgium Alpha Jets for sale, and joint Belgium/France training stopped
https://www.facebook.com/Scramblemagazine/posts/2448373715189148

Mark
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Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.