Draken Europe has announced the formal signing of a teaming agreement with Aero Vodochody Aerospace (AVA). The two companies plan to work together in support of the RAF’s new Interim Red Air Aggressor Training Service (IRAATS) and identify and develop maintenance, upgrade, training and support opportunities for Draken’s Teesside-based fleet of civil-registered L-159E HONEY BADGER aircraft.

Draken Europe’s fleet of eight L-159E aircraft is shortly to be in service as the “enemy”, flying against UK Armed Forces personnel as part of the Royal Air Force’s recently signed Interim Red Air Aggressor Service, Draken writes in a press release. The service is the first of its kind in the UK and represents the delivery of a new training capability for the RAF. The service is contractor-owned, contractor-operated, reducing the overall cost to the UK Government and enabling uniformed pilots and engineers to be utilised on front line units.

The service is to include air-to-air, target, threat simulation and mission augmentation training over the next three years, with operations due to commence this summer. The contract represents an enhanced capability over the previous HAWK T1 service delivered by the RAF’s recently disbanded 100 Sqn.