Draken International flies its first Mirage F1 with help from Paramount


Adversary air training specialist Draken International has for the first time flown its Mirage F1 after getting the aircraft airworthy with assistance from Paramount Aerospace Systems.

Draken’s first refurbished F1 took to the air on 12 November at Lakeland Linder International Airport in Lakeland, Florida.

The supersonic, radar-equipped F1 is part of a fleet of ex-military fighter aircraft currently being regenerated by Draken assisted by Paramount Aerospace Systems. The former Spanish Air Force F1 fleet will soon join Draken’s 13 A-4 Skyhawks and 23 L-159 Honey Badgers that currently support the US Air Force out of Nellis Air Force Base.

Paramount Aerospace Systems and Draken signed a contract last year for the overhaul and ongoing engineering support of the fleet of 22 ex-Spanish Mirage F1s. They are undergoing reassembly, restoration and airworthiness certification at Draken’s Lakeland, Florida maintenance facility.

Steve Griessel, CEO of Paramount Group USA, said “We are proud to support Draken’s Mirage F1 regeneration programme. Paramount has extensive capability on this aircraft with full airframe and engine overhaul capability, as well as the ability to upgrade, modernise avionics and mission systems. It is exciting to be working with Draken and this paves the way for a strong long-term relationship. The deployment of Paramount’s team in-country has proven the importance of having such expertise available on the ground to ensure we can provide the ultimate solution to our customers.”

Paramount Aerospace specializes in the modernization of fixed wing platforms including leading the previous modernization of the Mirage F1M while still in Spanish Air Force military service. Through predecessor company Advanced Technologies and Engineering, Paramount was involved in modernising Spain’s F1CE/EE/EDA fleet to F1M standard, which added updated avionics and radar (colour LCDs, Smart HUD, INS, GPS, Have Quick II radios and additional radar modes).

Draken acquired 20 single-seat Mirage F1Ms and two two-seat F1Bs, which will be used by the US Air Force and allied nation customers for adversary training.

Draken International also acquired nine ex-South African Air Force Cheetah C and three Cheetah D fighters from Denel in 2018.

Meanwhile, Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) has also been expanding its fleet for adversary training and in 2017 acquired 63 ex-French Mirage F1s, which Paramount Aerospace Systems will be supporting. Paramount has also acquired four ex-French F1Bs for pilot and maintenance technician training.