A unit of Mirage F1 fighter jets owned by Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC), a subsidiary of Textron, arrived at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida on December 17, 2020.
In the coming years, Tyndall will host and support the unit of about six Mirage F1 fighter jets, five pilots, and 30 maintenance personnel. They will replace the current fleet of T-38 Talon trainer aircraft.
F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning pilots will be able to engage in tactical airborne training, adversary air live training with the Mirages. “The aircraft will use non-live munitions, launch, and meet in the air space for simulated training including radio and radar operations for the purpose of training,” explained Jason White, 325th Operations Support Squadron Director of Operations. “The pilot would acquire the target, or the adversary, simulate engaging the adversary and then simulate firing missiles at the aircraft.”
The Dassault Mirage F1 is a multirole combat aircraft that entered service in 1973. Replaced in the French Air Force by the Dassault Mirage 2000 and Dassault Rafale, it is still in use in several air forces around the world, most noticeably in Iran.
In July 2017, ATAC acquired 63 formerly-French Mirage F1 fighter jets, 6 million spare parts, and 150 spare Atar 9K50 engines, for a total value of €25 million. Deliveries were completed on March 2, 2019. The fleet will allow ATAC to fulfill the adversary air (ADAIR) training contract awarded by the United States Air Force.
In October 2019, the Pentagon chose seven contractors to provide realistic training known as adversary air services (ADAIR) to the USAF, for a total of $6.4 billion in contracts with 37,000 hours of training flight expected annually. To this effect, Draken International, ATAC’s main competitor, also acquired 22 Mirage F1 fighter jets from the Spanish Air Force.