Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) was first formed in 1994 by two ex-USAF pilots, who saw an opportunity for commercial tactical flight services to fill the gaps left by the disbandment of several USAF and USN Aggressor Squadrons during the defence cuts of the 1990s. The first aircraft, two SAAB 35 Drakens, were obtained in 1997, and the first training operations were conducted under contracts from the US Navy.
The fleet was considerably expanded in 2002 with the acquisition of half a dozen IAI Kfirs retired from the Israeli Air Force. In 2004 the company added the capability of using electronic jamming systems as part of the training. A number of A-4 Skyhawks were added to the fleet, some company-owned and others obtained on lease. A significant change to the fleet was the introduction of more than a dozen ex-Swiss Air Force Hawker Hunters. Fast, agile and very reliable the Hunter soon became the backbone of the training fleet. In September 2011 the company was awarded a contract to support the training of Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) personnel – known in other countries as Forward Air Controllers – for the USAFE in Germany. The Skyhawks were retired in 2012 and replaced by a couple of Aero L-39 Albatros trainers.
By 2016 the market for commercial tactical air training market was quite well established, and continuing to expand. In July 2016 ATAC was acquired by Textron Inc, the company that owns Beechcraft and Cessna, with a view to developing further opportunities in this market.
|1994||Airborne Tactical advantage Company first formed|
|1997||First aircraft enter service – two SAAB 35 Drakens|
|2002||Fleet bolstered by ex-Israeli AF IAI Kfirs|
|29 Sep 2011||ATAC wins 4-year USAFE JTAC contract in Germany|
|2016||ATAC is aquired by Textron Corporation|
ATAC provides outsourced civilian tactical airborne training services. These include air-to-air aggressor training services, air-to-ship crew preparedness training, and air-to-ground Forward Air Controller training.
Apart from the Drakens, aircraft operated by ATAC generally carry a two or three-tone camouflage paint scheme, with the ATAC logo on the fin in black. The Drakens retained their RDanAF gloss dark green finish.
Aircraft Serial Numbers
Aircraft operated by ATAC carry United States civil aircraft registrations, eg. Hawker Hunter N321AX.
Coding system not used
None – Manufacturers designations used
Current Aircraft Inventory
|Aircraft Type||Total Del’d||Total Active||Still on Order||Role|
|Aero L-39 Albatros||2||2||0||Tactical Training|
|Hawker Hunter Mk.58||16||11||0||Tactical Training|
|IAI Kfir||6||5||0||Tactical Training|
All-Time Aircraft Used List
|Aircraft Type||Quantity||Service Entry||Out of Service||Origin|
|Aero L-39ZA Albatros||2||2012||current||?|
|Hawker Hunter Mk.58||15||2007||current||Swiss AF|
|Hawker Hunter FGA.74||1||?||current||UK|
|IAI Kfir C2||6||2002||current||Israeli AF|
|Douglas A-4C Skyhawk||1||?||2012||US Navy|
|Douglas A-4L Skyhawk||5||?||2012||US Navy|
|Douglas A-4N Skyhawk||3||2008||2012||leased|
|Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk||1||?||2012||US Navy|
|SAAB 35 Draken||2||1997||?||RDanAF|
Aircraft NOT Used
No false allocations known.
Aircraft Losses and Incidents
One Kfir and two Hunters have been lost in accidents.
Airborne Tactical Advantage Company, 1001 Providence Blvd Newport News, VA 23602, USA.
The company does not have any sub-units.
Current Unit Assignments
Historical Unit Assignments
All-Time Flying Units List
Current Air Bases
The main air base is NAS Point Magu, CA, but four other bases are regularly used inside and outside of the continental United States to deliver contracted services.
All-Time Air Bases Used List
To be added.