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US competitor for Top Aces:
MarkCanada Weighs Competing Bids For Airborne Training Services
Canada is on the cusp of awarding a 10-year contract for airborne training services worth as much as $1.5 billion. Since 2005, the Canadian Armed Forces have employed Montreal-based Discovery Air Defence as the primary provider of aggressor support for their Boeing CF-18 Hornet squadrons, as well as for electronic warfare practice and target towing. That contract is now up for renewal, with Discovery hoping to retain its position against a rival bid from Draken International, which has teamed up with Canadian training and simulation shop CAE. The Canadian government says it will pick a winner for the Contracted Airborne Training Services (CATS) program by year-end.
Canada divested its organic adversary air and electronic attack training capabilities in the early 2000s due to budget cuts and an aging aircraft inventory, and soon turned to Top Aces, bought by Discovery in 2007, for support. Since then, Discovery’s military operations have expanded to bases in Victoria, British Columbia; Cold Lake, Alberta; Ottawa; Bagotville, Quebec and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Its fleet includes 16 Dornier Alpha Jets, used mostly as aggressors, and four Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Westwind 1124 business jets, which tow targets and carry electronic warfare and threat simulation pods. It also owns 10 McDonnell Douglas A-4N/TA-4J Skyhawks, which are currently supporting a German contract.
The company’s Alpha Jets also routinely deploy along with the CF-18s to flag exercises in the U.S., such as trips to Naval Air Station Key West and Tyndall AFB in Florida. Discovery won’t say much about its CATS offer, but will likely recompete its Alpha Jets and IAI Westwinds and maybe even put forward Lockheed F-16s that it says it is acquiring from an unnamed Middle East country...