Draken Europe has announced that the Interim Red Air Aggressor Training Service (IRAATS) delivered its first training sortie to the UK Combat Air Force.

The sortie saw the service use a L-159E ‘Honey Badger’ aircraft to provide live threat replication against a Royal Air Force Typhoon jet.

The L-159E light multi-role combat training aircraft flew the training sortie over the North Sea. The RAF’s 41 Test and Evaluation Squadron provided the Typhoon.

RAF senior responsible owner for the capability air commodore ‘Cab’ Townsend said: “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.

“This capability will truly challenge our Combat Air pilots, training them more effectively for future operations.”

The IRAATS is delivered by Draken Europe as part of a contract awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) earlier this year.

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It is the MoD’s first-ever privately contracted medium to fast-speed agile aggressor training service.

Townsend added: “The contract was delivered through competition in a very short timescale, from inception to contract signature, and done so by a whole force team. It is timely, affordable, deliverable and provides Defence with excellent value for money.”

In July this year, Draken Europe reached a strategic partnership with AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE to support the contract.

Around eight Aero L-159Es will be based at Draken Europe’s Teesside base.

The civil-registered Czech-built AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE L-159E aircraft took over the role of an agile aggressor platform from BAE Systems Hawk T1.