The Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC – a Textron company) flew a two-seat MIRAGE F1B in an initial acceptance flight on 22 August, the company stated.
Conducted at Ft Worth Alliance Airport in Texas, the 30-minute flight is believed to mark the first time a MIRAGE F1 has been flown in US airspace by a private aggressor company. ATAC purchased 63 MIRAGE F1 fighter aircraft from France in 2017 and “intends to return as many of the high-performance tactical fighter aircraft to service as practicable,” the company said in a statement.
In its largest operation to date, ATAC has created an Adversary Center of Excellence (ACE) at Ft Worth where, among other things, it is storing and caretaking three million items of spares for the MIRAGE fleet. ACE will employ as many as 200 personnel to maintain and support high-performance aircraft at locations throughout the US and, according to the company, demonstrates its “commitment to the mission and ensures ATAC will be ready to meet the DoD needs from Day 1.”
The reference is to the US Department of Defense’s requirement for adversary or ‘aggressor’ air training services, the subject of intense competition between qualified providers, a community in which ATAC is a prominent player. The level of investment and commitment being shown in the run up to the competition proper demonstrates great confidence in the company’s capabilities, which are further reinforced by the enviable reputation it has established for reliable, effective and well-founded training services.