- 15 NOV 2011: New Zealand's Defence Minister has announced that a United States company, JDI Holdings, is going to buy eight Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) retired A-4K/TA-4K Skyhawks.
- Winter 2012: RNZAF deal completed with JDI Holdings. These aircraft will flown by Draken International, INC.
- Spring 2012: Commenced the lease of three A-4L from "A-4L LLC".
- 01 AUG 2012:
Draken International has acquired the 9 Aemacchi MB-339's and 8 McDonnell Douglas A-4K Skyhawks from the Kiwis (New Zealand)! It expects the MB-339’s to be operational during the 4th quarter 2012 and the Skyhawks during the 1st quarter of 2013! (much sooner than most had expected!) The Association finds this news VERY exciting indeed! These A-4K’s are nicely upgraded aircraft and the Draken lineup is fast becoming an extremely impressive tactical aircraft inventory for contract work around the country. They have an immediate need for skilled A-4 maintainers...so if you know some, or are one, get a resume in ASAP! While not so immediate a need, they are also building a collection of A-4 pilot resumes. Might be worth a try for some of you younger gents out there! E-mail point of contact for A-4 maintainer employment is: J Kerby. Interested pilots may want to send pilot resumes to Draken International at 3330 Flightline Drive, Lakeland, FL 33811.
Press Release on Draken’s NZ Skyhawk acquisition:
Draken International Purchases Eight McDonnell Douglas A-4K Skyhawks LAKELAND, FL (July, 2012) - Draken International has signed an agreement with the New Zealand government to purchase eight (8) McDonnell Douglas A-4K Skyhawks as well as various other equipment and accessories. This successful transaction marks the end of a great chapter in New Zealand aviation history and the beginning of a great foundation for Draken International. Draken, recognizing the increasing demand from the defense contracting industry, intends to operate the aircraft in support of Department of Defense training initiatives. The aircraft bring unique capabilities to the Contract Air Services (CAS) industry, with features such as an APG-66 radar, Heads-up-Display, HOTAS, Multi-Function Display and the NATO standard 1553 bus. Draken will also operate up to 6 buddy-store systems, enabling the Draken fleet to provide in-house aerial refueling or to provide tanker support to other probe equipped aircraft. Given these capabilities, the aircraft will be able to provide a more realistic training and threat simulation environment for a variety of roles including Air-to-Air, "Red Air", Air to Ground, JTAC/CAS, aerial refueling, research and other mission sets that demand the latest in aircraft technology. Draken International CEO Jared Isaacman states, “These aircraft represent the final and most capable evolution of the A-4 Skyhawk platform. We are all very confident in the long-term supportability, advanced avionics capabilities and economic efficiencies these aircraft will bring to the Department of Defense and the overall defense contracting industry.” In addition to the Douglas A-4K Skyhawks, the transaction includes over 20 spare engines, and an extensive inventory of spare parts, publications, life support equipment and avionics sufficient to power the fleet for decades to come. Also included are two flight simulators for cockpit procedural training and nav/attack system familiarization. Draken has already received the necessary approval from the US State Department and expects to have the aircraft operational by the first quarter of 2013.
Press Release on Draken’s NZ Aemacchi acquisition:
Draken International Purchases Aermacchi MB-339 Aircraft Fleet from New Zealand Government LAKELAND, FL (July 30th, 2012) – Draken International has been selected as the winning bidder for nine (9) Aermacchi MB-339 tactical jet trainer aircraft from the New Zealand government. The MB-339 aircraft are very low time and have been exceptionally well maintained. This acquisition complements the company’s already expansive and highly capable fleet of fighter aircraft, with capabilities in all mission sets including air to air and air to ground. These nine Aermacchi MB-339s feature dual, front and rear seat Heads-Up Displays (HUD), Multi-Function Displays (MFD), the NATO Standard 1553 data bus and an F-16-style Hands On Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) system. The MB-339 is specifically designed to excel in the Close Air Support (CAS), Forward Air Controller - Airborne (FAC-A) and training Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) roles. The aircraft are equipped with seven weapon station hardpoints to provide the capability to handle air-to-ground training munitions and integration with the latest generation of targeting pods. Draken International CEO Jared Isaacman states, “Draken is committed to building the most capable fleet of aircraft for our contract air services clients and this acquisition helps further our already robust capabilities. We are also very pleased to continue our long-standing positive relationship with the New Zealand government with this transaction.” This acquisition also includes an extensive inventory of spare parts, spare engines, avionics, nav/attack systems, publications and life support systems. Also included is a flight simulator for pilot familiarization and procedural training. Draken has had a team in New Zealand overseeing the disassembly, shipping and logistics operations for the MB-339 fleet for over two months. It is anticipated that the aircraft will be assembled and operational during the 4th quarter 2012.
- 12 DEC 2014:
Draken International, a provider of 4th-generation tactical flight support, has completed an acquisition of six McDonnell Douglas A-4N Skyhawks from BAE Systems and has successfully flown these aircraft back to the United States from Germany. These aircraft are in addition to eight A-4K Skyhawks previously purchased from New Zealand, bringing the company’s fleet to a total of 14 A-4 Skyhawks.
Draken International CEO Jared Isaacman states, “The A-4 Skyhawk has proven to be a very capable aircraft and is well-suited for tactical flight support. We are glad to have this opportunity to add these six additional aircraft to our growing fleet. The flight operation involved considerable planning and logistics expertise given the harsh and sometimes unpredictable weather of the North Atlantic. The Draken team did a tremendous job in all aspects of the operation including maintenance, pilots, flight planning, and logistics. This marks the fourth overseas acquisition of fighter aircraft and is highlighted even further by such a safe and successful trans-Atlantic flight operation.”
Draken International maintains the largest privately-owned fleet of tactical jet aircraft in the world with over 80 aircraft, including Douglas A-4 Skyhawks, Aermacchi MB-339s, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21s, Aero Vodochody L-39s, and our sophisticated multi-role Aero Vodochody L-159E Advanced Light Combat Aircraft (ALCA).
About Draken International
Draken International is the world’s largest operator of ex-military aircraft and based out of the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, FL. The organization sets a new standard in airborne adversary support, flight training, threat simulation, electronic warfare support, aerial refueling, research, testing, as well as other missions uniquely suited to their fleet of aircraft. With over 80 tactical fighter aircraft incorporating modern 4th-generation capabilities, the company is uniquely positioned to answer the growing global demand for commercial air services. Draken employs world-class military-trained fighter pilots including USAF Weapons School Instructors, Fighter Weapons School Graduates, TOP GUN Instructors, Air Liaison Officers, and FAC-A Instructors. For additional information, visit http://www.drakenintl.com.
- 22 JUN 2015: The World’s Largest Private Air Force.
- Warbirds News by Warbirds Digest.
Draken Front Door
A-4 LLC BuNo 147768, N147AT, with Draken International Pic1
Pic2, shows a second unidentified A-4L.
A-4L LLC A-4Lima leased to Draken International, Pic3.
159530 N-268WL in transit from BAE Germany to Draken USA with two other BAE Skyhawks.
Draken TA-4 N-141EM Nose On. Former RNZAF TA-4K Skyhawk, BuNo 157915 NZ6252.
29MAR13: Draken TA-4 N-141EM second seat being installed. Former RNZAF TA-4K Skyhawk, BuNo 157915 NZ6252.
BuNo 147768, a rebuilt A-4L by A4l, LLC; is leased to Draken Int. as DI-532.
Draken International, has completed an acquisition of six McDonnell Douglas A-4N Skyhawks from BAE Systems. In this photo is BuNo 159078, N437FS, BuNo 159815, N434FS and a unknown A-4N also coming from BAE of Germany to Draken in Clifton FL. U.S.A.
DEC 2015: Draken N147EM in formation with a F-16 and a F-35 for airborne testing of the F-35.