Editor’s Note: Contract Red Air is getting to be a big business. Airborne Tactical Advantage Company, or ATAC, has been doing it for more than twenty years, for example, and boasts overseas clients as well as the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. With the deactivation of the 65th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis and issues with providing enough maintenance personnel to keep the 64th Aggressors generating enough sorties, the door is open with the USAF for contract air services as well. Our neighbors to the north in Canada are looking to put a similar contract in place, and the bidding war on that has begun.

Firms are battling to win a billion dollar contract to provide Canada’s military with an aggressor aircraft training fleet, a deal that could pave the way for further expansion of such services on the international market.

Winning the contract is particularly critical for the Canadian-based Discovery Air Defence, which already provides such services to Germany and Canada. But the company is facing competition from the US-based Draken International, which has teamed with CAE of Canada to offer a fleet of aircraft for Canadian fighter jets to train against.

Canada Looking For Aggressor Fleet To Train RCAF
Two RCAF CF-188s in formation with a Discovery Air Defence AlphaJet. (Courtesy of Discovery Air)

Called the Contracted Airborne Training Services (CATS), the service will run over an initial 10-year period, followed by an optional five years. The CATS contract could be worth up to CAN $1.5 billion (US $1 billion) over that period of time.

CATS will provide aircraft to simulate hostile threats for ground and naval forces as well as fighter pilots. The project also provides aircraft to train forward air controllers as well as planes to tow targets and carry electronic warfare systems for various training scenarios.

Pierre-Alain Bujold, spokesman for Public Services and Procurement Canada, the federal department that coordinates military equipment purchases, said the bids went in Feb. 16.

The entire article can be viewed at Defense News here.

(Featured photo courtesy of THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES / Jake Wright)