Draken acquired 22 Mirage F1M and F1B fighter jets to enhance adversary services for its US Department of Defense and allied nation customers.
Draken International, a global leader in advanced adversary air services, has signed an agreement with Paramount Aerospace Systems, a subsidiary of Paramount Group, for the overhaul and ongoing engineering support of its recently acquired fleet of Mirage F1M aircraft from the Spanish Air Force.
Draken acquired 22 Mirage F1M and F1B fighter jets in an effort to enhance adversary services for its US Department of Defense and allied nation customers. The Mirage F1Ms were predominantly flown by the Spanish Air Force and received a full radar and avionics suite modernisation in the late 1990s.
This acquisition, along with the most recent purchase of 12 supersonic radar equipped South African Denel Cheetah fighter jets, increased Draken’s fleet size to over 150 fighter aircraft.
With the completion of the procurement phase, the Mirage F1Ms will now undergo reassembly, restoration and airworthiness certification by Paramount Aerospace Systems at Draken’s Lakeland, Florida maintenance facility. Paramount Aerospace specialises in the modernisation of fixed wing platforms, including leading the previous modernisation of the Mirage F1M while still in Spanish Air Force military service. Paramount possess extensive capabilities on the Mirage F1, with full airframe and engine overhaul capability, as well as the ability to upgrade, modernise avionics and mission systems.
“We are looking forward to working with one of the few companies in the world that possesses the extensive depth of F1 experience and knowledge that Paramount brings to the table. We are especially confident given Paramount’s experience modernising the same Mirage F1M jets we now own when they were in prior Spanish Air Force service,” said Jared Isaacman, CEO of Draken International.
Draken’s core competency is its ability to acquire, regenerate, modernise and operate affordable, supportable, credible and capable fighter aircraft. This is demonstrated by the over 150 fighter aircraft Draken has acquired in the last six years and the numerous government contracts being supported in the United States DOD and abroad. Draken also remains dedicated to tracking and evaluating aircraft globally with proven success operating fleets of aircraft that include the Mirage F1M, Denel Cheetah, A-4 Skyhawk, L-159 Honey Badger and Aermacchi MB-339.
Paramount Group acquired the entire South African Mirage F1 fleet, along with spares, simulators, training aids and other related material. The Mirage F1 represents an ideal solution for low cost Super Sonic Fighter capability, and Paramount offers a complete air-power package, with full training and technical support for the aircraft. Paramount also operates a fighter aircraft pilot training academy in South Africa, the only of its kind on the African continent.
Ivor Ichikowitz, group chairman of Paramount Group, said: “We are extremely excited by the partnership with Draken International and the establishment of long-term relationships in support of the US Air Force. There are very strong synergies between our organisations in meeting the ever-increasing demand for the effective utilisation of legacy aircraft in adversary training. Our collaboration with Draken underlines the importance of strategic partnerships for providing flexible, scalable and affordable solutions for the US Air Force.”