ATAC Secures Contract to Support AFSOC Joint Terminal Attack Controller Training

ATAC L-39ZA Albatross N216AX cruises off the coast of California over Catalina Island for a mission. (Image credit: ATAC)

The company, in partnership with Valkyrie Aero, will use L-39s and A-27s to provide live contract Close Air Support for JTAC trainees.

After securing a contract to provide adversary training at Luke and Holloman Air Force Bases, ATAC (Airborne Tactical Advantage Company) has been awarded a contract to provide live contract Close Air Support (CCAS) for Air Force Special Operations Command’s (AFSOC) Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) training. ATAC partnered for this contract with Valkyrie Aero and will support training, according to the press release, at numerous bases and locations throughout the continental United States.

The two companies will use the L-39 Albatros and A-27 Tucano, respectively, for 900 annual flight sorties and more than 1,100 flight hours, starting from this summer, serving up to ten locations under the first CCAS contract of the Combat Air Forces/Contracted Air Support program (CAF/CAS). The A-27 is the predecessor of the A-29 Super Tucano, which is also in service in the 81st Fighter Squadron of the U.S. Air Force at Moody AFB, tasked with the training of Afghan pilots.

Valkyrie Aero is a subsidiary of Valkyrie Defense and operates a fleet of A-27 Tucanos equipped with an MX-15D EO/IR turret, Video Downlink (VDL), Variable Message Format (VMF), UHF/VHF radios and Link 16, capable of performing day and night live attacks with the 7.62 M-134H-equipped DAP-6 gun pod, BDU-33/Mk-76 practice bombs and 2.75” rockets. The capabilities and weaponry of the L-39ZA used by ATAC are not known but should be similar.

Scott Stacy, ATAC General Manager, said in the press release: “ATAC is proud to support the training of AFSOC JTACs, the gold-standard in their field. This work expands on ATAC’s previous air-to-ground training and positions the company for future growth in this important training area”.

An A-27 Tucano of Valkyrie Aero. Note the MX-15 EO/IR turret under the fuselage and the BDU-33 practice bombs under the wing. (Photo: Valkyrie Aero/Anthony Pecchi)

ATAC and Valkyrie were also contracted last year to provide the same services for the U.S. Navy’s Terminal Attack Controller Trainer (TACT) program, which involved also the AT-6 Wolverine in addition to the L-39 and A-27. The Wolverine is provided by Textron Aviation Defense, which is a sister business unit of ATAC.

Under the TACT program, the two companies recently completed a training cycle for the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC) at Naval Air Station Fallon.

The CCAS contract is the latest of multiple contracts awarded lately to provide training support for the U.S. Armed Forces, especially adversary training, or “Red Air”, for the Air Force in support of the Formal Training Units (FTU) for F-15, F-16 and F-35. The companies currently involved in the CAS/CAF, of which CCAS is part of, are ATAC, TacAir and Draken.

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.