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​Draken International was awarded a $280 million contract to continue flying adversary air at Nellis AFB, Nev. Shown here is a three-ship of Draken Cheetah supersonic fighters. Draken International photo.


Draken To Continue Flying ADAIR at Nellis

The Air Force has awarded Draken International, of Lakeland, Fla., a $280 million contract to continue flying adversary air at Nellis AFB, Nev., through December 2023, according to a DOD contract announcement. Draken has been the sole commercial provider of Red Air to the US Air Force since it received its first contract in 2015 to augment USAF’s existing F-16 aggressors. The Air Force announced last year it planned to open up the contract to competition, and industry has been aggressively building up its fleet in anticipation of this contract and the much-larger CAF ADAIR contract, which has not yet been awarded but is expected to total some 37,000 hours of Red Air at multiple bases. Under the Nellis contract, Draken will provide, operate, and maintain the aircraft for “air-to-air tracking, targeting, and ADAIR operations.” The sorties are to provide “combat air training services that include tactical profiles, to include beyond-visual-range engagements, operational test support, dissimilar air combat maneuvers, offensive and defensive within-visual-range maneuvers, multi-ship tactics, merges, and flight.” The award was a competitive acquisition, with two offers having been received. Draken announced late last year it had acquired 12 South African Atlas Cheetah supersonic fighters, in addition to its fleet of nine Aermacchi MB-339s, 27 MiG-21s, 21 L-159s, 22 F1s, 13 A-4s, five L-39s, and one T-33. See also Red Air for Hire from the April issue of Air Force Magazine. In 2017, the Air National Guard also awarded Draken a contract to provide commercial Red Air at six bases.—Amy McCullough and Steve Hirsch


Mattis: US Forces on Korean Peninsula are There to Stay, Not a Part of Negotiations

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Sunday reiterated that US troops in South Korea are there to stay and will not be on the table for the upcoming summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “We’re not going anywhere,” Mattis told reporters as he returned from the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. “It’s not even a subject of the discussions.” In five to 10 years, if there is a change prompting a review of force structure, that discussion would be “between a democracy called the Republic of Korea and a democracy called the United States of America,” Mattis said. The much-anticipated, and previously canceled, summit is reportedly on for June 12 in Singapore, and Mattis said confusion in the build up to the meeting is normal, because “all negotiations are bumpy.” The US is going forward with the focus of “a complete verifiable, irreversible, removal" of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, he said. On Monday, Kim appeared to lay the groundwork for the meeting by replacing his military leadership, getting rid of three long-time officials and installing younger loyalists, CNN reported. —Brian Everstine

The Importance of Space Cooperation with Allies

Col. Michael Manor, who is about to depart as head of the Joint Space Operations Center, pointed to the importance of cooperation with allies and partners in the national security space sphere in an interview with Air Force Magazine. Manor is to become director of the Commander’s Action Group for the Air Force Space Command and the Joint Space Component Command at a time when the Air Force is stressing the increasing role of international cooperation in its space efforts. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.

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Saber Strike Kicks Off Across Eastern Europe

Exercise Saber Strike 18, a major annual NATO exercise in multiple countries across Eastern Europe, kicked off Sunday with USAF F-16s and JSTARS slated to participate. The exercise features thousands of troops from 19 nations, training at locations in Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, and Estonia from June 3-15. “No nation can confront the world alone, alliances are welcome and necessary,” said Brig. Gen. Richard Coffman, commander of the US Army mission command element and the deputy commander of the US 1st Infantry Division, in a release. “To realize a strong military alliance, you must train as one and Saber Strike allows [us] to accomplish this goal.” F-16s and airmen from the Colorado Air National Guard’s 120th Fighter Squadron have deployed to Estonia for the exercise, and will train with US and allied joint terminal attack controllers, as well as F-16s from Slovenia and C-130Js, according to a release. An E-8C JSTARS from the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th Air Control Wing deployed to Fighter Wing Skrydstrup, Denmark, for the exercise, and the separate Exercise Baltic Operations, according to a release. —Brian Everstine

KC-10 Makes Emergency Landing in Ireland

A KC-10 experienced an engine problem over the Atlantic, forcing it to land in Ireland on Sunday. The incident is the second time a USAF tanker had to make an emergency landing within a week, after a KC-135 experienced a possible lightning strike on Wednesday in Wisconsin. The KC-10, from JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, landed at Shannon International Airport in Ireland. The crew shut down one of the aircraft’s three engines, and inspectors on the ground determined a panel was missing from the aircraft’s left engine, according to BreakingNews.ie. —Brian Everstine

Northrop Wins $866 Million USAF Contract for Radar Systems Work

The Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman a contract worth up to $866 million for the sustainment and modification of radar sensors for the Ballistic Missile Early Warning systems and PAVE Phased Array Warning system radars, as well as the Parameter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization system, the service announced Friday. Work will be done in Colorado Springs, Colo., and other locations, and is slated to becompleted by the end of May 2023. This was a competitive acquisition, with three offers having been received, according to the contract announcement. —Steve Hirsch

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RADAR SWEEP


—Col. John Howard, who was fired from his post as commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing at Scott AFB, Ill., has been charged with sexual assault, cruelty, and maltreatment: Air Force Times.

—The Air Force Research Laboratory recently signed a three-year agreement to work with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University on developing algorithms to monitor the health of aircraft engines: Calcalist Tech.

—Former Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci died June 3 in McClean, Va., at the age of 87. Carlucci served under President Ronald Reagan, and was also a national security adviser and deputy CIA director: The Washington Post.

—The Del Rio, Texas, airport will begin commercial service in November for the first time since 2013. The remote Texas town is home to Laughlin Air Force Base: Avgeekery.com.

— The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its version of the defense bill, is authorizing $100 million for the US Marine Corps to procure light attack aircraft similar to those the Air Force is evaluating: Military.com.

—The USAF Thunderbirds cancelled its performance at the Gunfighter Skies air show at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, after Dan Buchanan, a hang glider pilot, was killed in a crash during the show on Saturday: CBS News.