The US military is expected to issue ‘Red Air’ training requirements in the coming weeks as the services look to address a growing airframe and pilot shortage, industry officials told IHS Jane’s on 15 November.
Speaking on the occasion of the IQPC International Fighter Conference in London, Matt Bannon, Director Strategy & Marketing at Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC), said that both the US Navy (USN) and US Air Force (USAF) are following similar timelines that will see the release of draft request for proposals (RFPs) towards the end of this year/early 2017, with the goal of fielding a contractor-based training solution in the mid-part of 2018.
“Both the air force and the navy have a capability gap for fourth-generation [fighter] training. The air force, for example, has a 9,700 flying hours [per year] requirement at Nellis Air Force Base of which it can only currently fulfil about 7,000 hours, and that doesn’t include the ACC [Air Combat Command]; AEC [Air Education Command]; PACAF [Pacific Air Command; and [ANG] Air National Guard. By 2030 they are expected to have a 115,000 hour adversary requirement,” Bannon said.
The USN already employs ATAC to provide ‘Red Air’ threat simulation under the auspices of its Commercial Air Services (CAS) contract. This programme has already been running for 10-years, with a five-year renewal contract coming up soon. As noted by Bannon, a draft RFP is expected in January 2017. For the USAF, a draft RFP is due in December to be followed by an industry day in January 2017 and an RFP sometime in the second quarter of the year.
While contractor-owned/contractor-operated (CO/CO) adversarial air training has been around for many years already, what makes the latest USAF and USN requirements different is that for the first time they will require the private contractor to field the latest-generation fourth-generation platforms.
Original post janes.com