173rd Air National Guard Fighter Wing Expands Training with Draken's L-159 Honey Badgers

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Kingsley Field, Oregon (July 12, 2018)

A squadron of new aircraft is up and running at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon; the Adversary Air Squadron (ADAIR) is a contract service from Draken International, which provides adversaries for student pilots to train against for the next six weeks.

“You will see some distinctly different jets flying over Klamath Falls over the next few months,” said Col. Jeff Smith, the 173rd Fighter Wing commander. “These Adversary Air aircraft, pilots, and maintenance personnel are contracted by the U.S. Air Force to help us increase our training quality and student throughput.” 

The new aircraft, called the Honey Badger L-159E, are here temporarily in order to evaluate a longer term contract that may begin next summer.

“It’s definitely smaller than the F-15 that you see flying around on any given day, but it will still provide a good, realistic threat replication for us, and provide good quality training,” said Capt. Chris DuBois, and instructor pilot at the 173rd Fighter Wing.

Typically, Kingsley’s F-15s fly the adversary air portions of training exercises, which can require up to an additional three aircraft to train a single student pilot. The use of the ADAIR aircraft frees up some of those aircraft and instructor pilots to fly additional students.

“We’re excited to welcome them temporarily in June and July and more permanently starting in 2019,” Smith said.

DuBois says there are additional benefits as well, including the experience level of the visiting pilots, “Most of them have flown F-15s, F-16s, or most of the inventory currently in the U.S. Military—so leaning on some of their experience and depth of knowledge will help our students learn.”

The 173rd Fighter Wing is the sole formal training schoolhouse for the F-15 Eagle.

As the global defense and military climate changes, the need has never been greater for cost-effective and professional contract air support.

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