Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR April 2017 Contents Asia Pacific Defence Reporter APR 2017 61
A Special Mission Learjet 35 aircraft operating under contract with Air Affairs (Australia) Pty Ltd, passes the
Bergamini-class frigate Carabiniere, of the Italian Navy, as part of a coordinated air warfare serial in the Western
Australian Exercise Area, for Exercise Ocean Explorer 2017. Credit: CoA / Lee-Anne Cooper
However this will have a detrimental effect on
the training value for the squadron if they were to
play Red Air too frequently, along with the other
contingents assigned to the role.
Air assets from the United States have also been
used for Red Air training, with the U.S . Air Force’s
sole Pacific-based F-16 Aggressor squadron having
deployed to Australia twice in the past few years, the
most recent being Exercise Diamond Shield in March
2017. U .S . Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets have also
taken part in training Australian JTACs at Exercise
Black Dagger in north Queensland, however these
need to viewed from an interoperability perspective,
rather than an ongoing thing.
So it could be said that it was a while coming but at
the Avalon Airshow, it was announced that a Fast Jet
Adversary Air capability will be delivered under Air
Affairs Australia Pty Ltd’s existing Jet Air Support
contract commencing in the 3rd quarter of 2017.
Under this two-year trial contract, Air Affairs
will team up with Canada’s Discovery Air Defence
Ser vices Inc. to supply three fully crewed and
maintained Dornier Alpha Jets at RAAF Williamtown
to provide Red Air for Royal Australian Air Force
training, Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC)
training for the Australian Army and anti-surface
warfare training for the Royal Australian Navy.
Chris Sievers, Managing Director of Air Affairs
Australia, told APDR at Avalon that the Alpha Jets
will offer “significantly improved performance that is
much more representative of a fighter” compared to
the previous business and executive jets that have
been trialled in this role for the ADF.
Air Affairs had won an interim Jet Air Support
Contract in 2015 to provide Training Support Tasks
including Aerial Target Towing and Tactical Flight
Missions in support of the Navy and Air Force, with
an extension awarded to the company in 2016.
The company is a 100 % Australian-owned
Aviation Operations and Engineering based
company established in 1995 and today provides
a host of specialised airborne and engineering
ser vices. It has Australian Defence Security
clearance and provides aircraft operations and
maintenance under full CASA certification.
Operating from purpose built facilities at the
Albatross Aviation Technology Park in Nowra,
NSW, Air Affairs Australia owns and operates a
fleet of special mission Learjet and Kingair aircraft,
providing specialised air training support services to
the Australian Defence Force.
All its aircraft are equipped with ADS-B , TCAS/
RVSM and several aircraft are fitted with wing hard
points and specialised mission systems. These can
carry the Air Affairs’ MTR-101 Reeling Machine for
towed target applications or the Airpod 101 special
missions pod. The latter is a subsonic pod certified
for flight on the Learjet 30 series aircraft in a variety
of configurations that include nose and tail fairings
that can be supplied as radomes or optically clear
for video or photography.
The pod has four equipment bays, can hold
standard 19-inch rack mounts and is in ser vice as
an EW pod for the German Air Force. Singapore
Technologies has fitted it with sur vey and IR scanners
in Australia. The system has a full engineering
package approved by CASA, German LBA , FAA and
flight clearance on Learjet to 35,000 feet and 0.80
mach and has a 792 lbs payload capacity.
APDR understands that the company’s Learjets
also supported the recent combat systems trial of the
Air War fare Destroyer NUSHIP Hobart. Based out of
RAAF Base Edinburgh. These included the Learjets
conducting associated flight runs within the Gulf of
St Vincent at 20,000 feet, with Run lengths varying
between 50 and 25 nautical miles and the aircraft
limited ability to alter track and level, according to
an Aeronautical Information Package Supplement
(AIPSUP) released by Airservices Australia.
Air Affairs also manufactures the Phoenix Jet
target drone. Developed specifically for the Defence
Industry as a high performance training solution for
a variety of gun and air defence missile systems,
the Phoenix Jet provides a realistic threat simulation
and enhancements such as Miss Distance Indicator
(MDI), smoke, IR and Luneburg lenses can be added
to meet the requirements of a wide range of weapon
systems and has supported Army and Navy gunnery
exercises throughout Australia.
DISCOVERY AIR DEFENCE
Canadian-based Discovery Air Defence will be
Air Affairs Australia’s partner in the trial contract
to provide Red Air support for the ADF. Discovery
Air Defence started in the early 2000s when three
Canadian CF-18 Hornet pilots Paul Bouchard, Didier
Toussaint, and Dave Jennings, decided to create
their own company, Top Aces Consulting.
The founding partners were highly-experienced
Canadian Fighter Weapons Instructors and saw a
new need for private companies to provide threat
simulation, electronic warfare and target towing to
the military. At that time there was a void in combat
support aircraft in the Royal Canadian Air Force
following the withdrawal of its CT-133 Silver Stars
from 434 Combat Support Sqn in 2000 and from
414 Combat Support Sqn in 2002.
In 2004, the Canadian Department of National
Defence released a call for tenders from industry to
provide combat support to the military. The company
then bid on and subsequently won the Contracted
Airborne Training Services (CATS) contract to
deliver fast air support to the Canadian Department
of National Defence in 2005.
Within six months of winning the CATS contract,
the company flew their first missions in the Alpha
Jet in support of the Canadian military, and this was
followed closely by the winning of a second contract
in 2006 to provide Special Mission support with
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