Draken Flies Record Breaking 16-Aircraft Package at White Sands Missile Range
LAKELAND, FL – September 19th, 2016 – Draken International continues to exceed capacity expectations with the successful deployment of 18 tactical fighter aircraft to Holloman AFB from September 9-17th. Throughout the week, Draken maintenance flawlessly supported 32 missions daily with pilots flying a 16 x 16 flight schedule in numerous platforms to include A-4Ks, A-4Ns, L-159s, L-39s, MB-339s, and F-5s. This increase in flying volume is an industry first and is a true testament to Draken’s commitment to expanding its fleet to meet growing demands.
With aircraft based throughout the country, Draken deployed assets to Alamogordo, New Mexico beginning September 9th and staged operations out of Holloman AFB. These dedicated missions were flown over the White Sands Missile Range in support of Japanese Chu-SAM (KAI) testing, a medium range Surface-to-Air Missile similar to the US Army’s Patriot missile. This significant test required multiple flights at various altitudes and airspeeds in an effort to challenge the Chu-SAM system. Draken developed intricate plans that put the Japanese defense system to the test with safe yet contested presentations with unrivaled capacity.
“This exercise demonstrated Draken’s capacity to meet and exceed growing requirements within our commercial industry. We see our aircraft not as platforms, but as continuously expanding capabilities”, states Sean Gustafson, VP of Business Development. “In the very near future, we will provide a supersonic, data-linked passive IR shooter capability. The proven capacity flown this past week is second to none in the industry.”
With all 18 Draken aircraft parked on the 49th Wing ramp, Team Holloman rose up to the occasion and exceeded expectations with utmost professionalism. Saint Lehtinen, the Draken project lead for the exercise stated, “The men and women of Holloman Air Base were truly exceptional during our visit. Having a contractor fleet of aircraft substitute a military squadron of F-16s was a challenging first for the base. Our hat is off to the 49th Wing and their amazing team of airmen and civilians supporting the Holloman Mission and specifically this Testing at WSMR. Thank you to the entire team!”
Draken Maintenance was equally as thrilled with the performance of the fleet. Ronnie Bryant, a weapons professional loading multiple pods remarked, “What a sight to see the amount of aircraft flying twice a day. Our aircraft are flying at much higher mission success rates than we flew on active duty. It was very rewarding having our team launch and recover that many aircraft.” The entire maintenance organization proved their worth alongside ops by delivering safe, highly capable and cost-effective solutions at previously unmatched capacity.
About Draken International
Based in Lakeland, Florida, Draken International has set a new standard in tactical flight support. With over 80 fighter aircraft, the company operates the largest privately-owned fleet of ex-military aircraft in the world. Draken aircraft are unique in their ability to replicate capabilities often found on modern 4th generation fighter jets, but at considerably lower cost. The Draken aircraft are used in various types of military training objectives around the globe to include support for the U.S Air Force, U.S Navy, U.S Marine Corps and other International partners. Draken service represents tremendous cost savings over the use of traditional military fighter assets. For additional information, visit www.baqea.com.