Draken International Completes a Successful Year of USMC Close Air Support Training
MCAS Cherry Point, N C (12/23/2016) - Draken International, operator of the world’s largest fleet of ex-military fighter aircraft, has successfully completed the first year of a USMC Close Air Support training contract. As part of this innovative and cost-effective initiative, Draken aircraft have flown over 500 mission sorties and delivered in excess of 700 practice bombs. The ordnance was released with precision accuracy to include a 100% functional release rate with overall 98% mission effectiveness.
During the most recent training exercise, Draken aircraft provided live Close Air Support training for operational units outside of the formal schoolhouse. This included Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 (VMFA(AW)-533) and Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269 (HMLA-269) Forward Air Controller (Airborne) training out of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina. These Close Air Support sorties were flown in conjunction with fixed-wing F/A-18 Hornets, UH-1 and AH-1 rotary-wing FAC(A) crews, and U.S. Army support from 1st Battalion 17th Cavalry Regiment as well as indirect fire support from mortars and artillery. These sorties resulted in the training and certification of numerous forward air controllers while still achieving extraordinary cost savings for the government.
“Draken’s live Close Air Support was instrumental to accomplishing the pre-deployment training objectives for VMFA(AW)-533, and has been critical to the training of numerous JTACs over the last year,” states Jeff Scott, Lt. Col., USMC (Ret.), former AV-8B, F-35B pilot and Draken's Director of Marine Corps Operations.
The numerous Douglas A-4K Skyhawk aircraft flown by Draken provide accurate Close Air Support with computed delivery systems and advanced radar ranging. This enables Draken aircraft to replicate forward firing ordnance as well as laser-guided munitions that would typically be carried by more modern and costly military fighter jets. This represents a significant cost savings for the USMC and other Draken customers within the Department of Defense.
About Draken International
Based in Lakeland, Florida, Draken International has set a new standard in tactical flight support. With over 80 fighter aircraft, the company operates the largest privately-owned fleet of ex-military aircraft in the world. Draken aircraft are unique in their ability to replicate capabilities often found on modern 4th generation fighter jets, but at considerably lower cost. The Draken aircraft are used in various types of military training objectives around the globe to include support for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and other International partners. Draken’s services deliver tremendous cost savings over the use of traditional military fighter assets. For additional information, visit www.drakenintl.com.