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173rd Fighter Wing expands training with contract adversary air

173rd FW Expands Training with Contracted Adversary Air

A Draken International L-159E Honey Badger aircraft heads for the Oregon Test and Training Range to simulate an adversary during training missions for the 173rd Fighter Wing under a contract to test their services for future use, June 5, 2018. The U.S. Air Force is evaluating if a permanent contract will successfully increase student pilot training for the air superiority mission in the F-15 Eagle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson)

173rd FW Expands Training with Contracted Adversary Air

Two Draken contract L-156E Honey Badger aircraft taxi in front of the distinctive murals at Kingsley Field, in Klamath Falls, Ore., June 5, 2018. The 173rd Fighter Wing’s day-to-day flying doesn’t involve any other airframes, until now, as this contracted service is integrated into flying operations, simulating adversary aircraft and freeing its F-15 Eagles to carry more student pilots on training flights. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson)

173rd FW Expands Training with Contracted Adversary Air

A Draken International L-159E Honey Badger aircraft flies past a local Klamath County landmark, Mt. Stukel, as it undertakes the very first mission to provide “red air” during training missions for the 173rd Fighter Wing in Klamath Falls, Ore., June 5, 2018. This contract is slated to last for two months as the U.S. Air Force evaluates a more permanent integration in the summer of 2019 to help increase student pilot training for the air superiority mission in the F-15 Eagle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson)

173rd FW Expands Training with Contracted Adversary Air

A Draken International L-159E Honey Badger aircraft flies past a local Klamath County landmark, Mt. Stukel, as it undertakes the very first mission to provide “red air” during training missions for the 173rd Fighter Wing in Klamath Falls, Ore., June 5, 2018. This contract is slated to last for two months as the U.S. Air Force evaluates a more permanent integration in the summer of 2019 to help increase student pilot training for the air superiority mission in the F-15 Eagle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson)

KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --

A squadron of new aircraft is up and running at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Ore.; the Adversary Air Squadron (ADAIR) is a contract service from Draken International, which provides adversaries for student pilots to train against for the next six weeks.

“You will see some distinctly different jets flying over Klamath Falls over the next few months,” said Col. Jeff Smith, the 173rd Fighter Wing commander. “These Adversary Air aircraft, pilots, and maintenance personnel are contracted by the U.S. Air Force to help us increase our training quality and student throughput.” 

The new aircraft, called the Honey Badger L-159E, are here temporarily in order to evaluate a longer term contract that may begin next summer.

“It’s definitely smaller than the F-15 that you see flying around on any given day, but it will still provide a good, realistic threat replication for us, and provide good quality training,” said Capt. Chris DuBois, and instructor pilot at the 173rd Fighter Wing.

Typically, Kingsley’s F-15s fly the adversary air portions of training exercises, which can require up to an additional three aircraft to train a single student pilot. The use of the ADAIR aircraft frees up some of those aircraft and instructor pilots to fly additional students.

“We’re excited to welcome them temporarily in June and July and more permanently starting in 2019,” Smith said.

DuBois says there are additional benefits as well, including the experience level of the visiting pilots, “Most of them have flown F-15s, F-16s, or most of the inventory currently in the U.S. Military—so leaning on some of their experience and depth of knowledge will help our students learn.”

The 173rd Fighter Wing is the sole formal training schoolhouse for the F-15 Eagle.