The new combat aircraft is equipped with sophisticated radars and sensor suites to evolve the capabilities of the Draken fleet in order to simulate the 4th Gen. adversaries during the U.S. combat exercises.

Draken buys twelve South African Cheetah
Draken International adds twelve South African Atlas Cheetah fighter aircraft to its fleet

December 11, 2017 - Draken International, a global leader in advanced adversary air services, has announced the acquisition of twelve South African Atlas Cheetah fighter aircraft, reinforcing the company’s focus on providing advanced capabilities to its clients. As the demand for increased capacity of adversary resources continues to soar throughout the Department of Defense (DoD) and globally, Draken’s new Cheetah jets will provide the USAF, USN, and USMC an advanced radar-equipped supersonic platform to train against.

Viewed as a major achievement for the South African Defense Industry, Denel Aeronautics, the aircraft design authority, remains committed to the expeditious transfer and complete regeneration of nine Cheetah C models (single-seat) and three D models (two-seaters) to ensure Draken’s fleet achieves operational status by mid-2018. In addition to the procurement of the Cheetah fleet, Draken and Denel have created a partnership that will include follow-on service support to help ensure performance reliability.

Draken is currently the only commercial air services provider supporting the DoD with 4thgeneration capabilities. The company’s A-4 Skyhawks equipped with APG-66 radars, and L-159 Honey Badgers with GRIFO-L radars, have proven to be highly effective adversaries for the USAF, ANG, USMC and international partners. Supplementing the Draken fleet with these 4th generation Cheetahs will offer customers an extremely capable yet highly cost-effective platform. The twelve Cheetahs are complemented by Draken’s recent acquisition of 22 modernized radar-equipped Spanish Mirage F1Ms.

Draken’s core competency is its ability to acquire and operate affordable, supportable, credible and capable fighter aircraft. Draken also remains dedicated to tracking and evaluating aircraft globally with proven success operating fleets of aircraft that include the A-4 Skyhawk, L-159 Honey Badger and Aermacchi MB-339. With both the newly acquired Cheetahs and the Mirage F1Ms modernized in the 1990’s, these highly capable platforms were selected over early model F-16s and non-modernized Mirage F1s based upon their true 4th generation capabilities. Developed as a variant of the Mirage III, the Mach 2.2 Cheetahs are equipped with radars, radar warning receivers, and other advanced avionics. The Cheetahs also have an average of 500 hours on each airframe and are considerably younger than many of the F-16’s, F-15’s and F/A-18s they will challenge in the Red Air capacity.

Sean Gustafson, VP of Business Development at Draken stated, “Our customers within the USAF, USN, and USMC have asked Draken to evolve our capabilities in order to simulate the 4thgeneration adversaries the United States may have to face in the future. While our extensive fleet of A-4K Skyhawk and L-159 Honey Badgers are modernized with sophisticated radars and sensor suites, it’s a challenge to deliver modern enemy capabilities at a low price point, which is a fundamental requirement for our industry. However, with the recent purchase of our low-time Spanish Mirage F1M’s and our South African Cheetahs, we now have the ability to deliver supersonic, modernized, and truly threat representative 4th generation capabilities at a very affordable price point.”

Source, Image: Draken International

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