Draken Delivers First Live Threat Training to British Air Force

Draken Europe has delivered its first aggressor training sortie for the British Royal Air Force over the North Sea.

The activity supports the Interim Red Air Aggressor Training Service, an outsourced medium-to-fast aggressor program that trains service jets with live threat replication.

The first session saw the company’s L-159E Honey Badger light combat aircraft maneuver against a 41 Test and Evaluation Squadron Typhoon aircraft.

“I am absolutely delighted to announce that the RAF’s exciting new ‘Red Air’ aggressor service has delivered its first training sortie to the Combat Air Force,” Red Air Senior Manager Air Cmdr. Cab Townsend stated. “This capability will truly challenge our Combat Air pilots, training them more effectively for future operations.” 

Playing the ‘Bad Guys’

The activity will be followed by the Red Air program’s full operating capability. Starting in January 2023, eight Czech-built aircraft will be deployed to train the British pilots.

“We take great pride in the work that we do training the UK’s frontline forces to defend themselves from attack – it’s an important role, a challenging one and a task that we take seriously,” Draken Europe CEO Paul Armstrong said.

RAF Typhoon taking off armed with ASRAAMs. Photo: RAF

“Playing the ‘bad guys’ in a live training environment may sound easy, but in reality, the safe and compliant delivery of this service demands the utmost professionalism from the whole Draken organisation. I’m happy to be the first to congratulate our team on reaching this major milestone.”

Continued Training With Honey Badgers

The contract for the Red Air Training Service is effective until 2025, with options for an additional three years.

Since its launch, the program has produced additional jobs and contributed to the development of Teesside International Airport in Darlington, England.

“Our teams in the UK and the US have been working incredibly hard to bring these highly capable aircraft to Teesside, and it is hugely rewarding for all of us at Draken to see the L-159s performing their role in a service that will now build rapidly over the coming months,” Armstrong stated.

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