USA’s Draken International has supported operational testing of the F-35 by flying the company's A-4K fighter jets as simulated adversaries.
The force training exercise at Edwards Air Force was initiated by the 323rd Test and Evaluation Squadron and supported by the Joint Strike Fighter Operational Test Team from Aug. 17-28. This was the first time any commercial air services company had provided adversary support for the F-35, the company announced today.
Draken flew as many as five of their A-4K aircraft at a time as adversaries in support of F-35 operational testing against both Royal Netherlands Air Force and Royal Air Force F-35A and F-35B aircraft as well as Royal Netherlands F-16 Vipers.
Draken's A-4K aircraft are equipped with 4th generation technology such as Pulse Doppler radar, electronic attack pods, and ground controllers to provide realistic threat presentations for integrated F-35 operational testing.
The test exercise will enable an initial assessment of 4th and 5th generation fighter integration, including Link-16 interoperability aspects.
The lessons learned will lay the groundwork for future cooperation between 4th and 5th generation fighters and will help shape F-35A tactics.
“Our goal was to present a realistic adversary with our radar-equipped aircraft and challenge their systems.” Draken Pilot Jeff Scott said.
Draken is the only commercial air services provider with 4th generation fighter capabilities that provides realistic training adversaries at a fraction of the cost of military jets.