Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC), a subsidiary of Textron Airborne Solutions, has announced the maiden flight of one of its 63 Mirage F1 aircraft purchased from France.
The 30-minute flight of a two-seat F-1B aircraft, with registration N601AX, took place at Fort Worth Alliance Airport in Texas on August 22. ATAC has a facility, named Adversary Center of Excellence (ATAC-ACE), at Fort Worth Airport.
ATAC F1s are off and flying. We recently undertook successful first flight with our F1 Mirage as we prepare to support customer training needs. All functions progressing: new facilities; upgraded aircraft; and additional pilots with more to come! pic.twitter.com/135UkedGQD
— ATAC (Airborne Tactical Advantage Company) (@ATACTextron) August 26, 2019
This is reportedly the first time a Mirage F1, owned by a private aggressor company, been flown in US airspace.
In July 2017, ATAC purchased 63 former French Air Force (Armée de l’Air) Mirage F1 fighter aircraft from the government of France. The purchase also included several million spare parts, ground support equipment and over 100 spare ATAR 9K50 engines. ATAC’s purchase of the F1s marks the largest global sale of such aircraft to a private company.
ATAC took delivery of the first two Mirage F1s on June 27 last year. The Mirage F1 fleet will be used to provide contractor aggressor services to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) customers.
ATAC currently provides advanced Adversary support at all levels of the U.S. Navy’s air-to-air training programs, from Fleet Replacement Squadrons to the Navy’s graduate level “TOPGUN” program. The company operates a fleet of Mk-58 Hawker Hunter, Israeli F-21 Kfir, A-4 Skyhawk, and L-39 Albatross II military aircraft.
Draken International, ATAC’ major competitor, has also acquired Mirage F1s to provide aggressor support to the U.S. Armed Forces. Draken procured 22 Mirage F1M/F1B fighter jets which were earlier flown by the Spanish Air Force.