As a subcontractor of the US-based company Tactical Air Support, Inc. (Tactical Air), RUAG will perform maintenance work on 22 F-5 aircraft and their engines. The first engine with the latest NAVAIR configuration was successfully accepted at the end of August. This means that the first milestone of the project was reached on schedule. RUAG is responsible for the overhaul of up to 44 J85 engines. A complete overhaul was performed to ensure that the first engine was ready for testing. The test run for the acceptance of the first J85-21C engine was conducted together with two representatives of the end customer, the US Navy, in Ennetmoos. The engine under test ran for more than 12 hours throughout the whole week, including one hour in afterburner, the equivalent of several regular flights.
In October 2023, RUAG, in conjunction with the US Navy conducted a second test run on this engine in Yuma, AZ. With another 9 hours of testing, the feedback was that the engine was “better than new”. RUAG’s fulfillment of the contract as a subcontractor will ensure that its unique expertise in the area of J85 engines and structural work is maintained, to the benefit of the Swiss Air Force. It will also result in economies of scale, as RUAG will be able to maintain the order volume for the F-5 jet. With the achievement of the first milestone, RUAG has left the start-up phase and entered the series production phase. RUAG has been contracted to deliver a further five engines to Tactical Air by the end of 2023 and to complete a further twelve engines per year in the coming years.
Tactical Air Support, Inc. (Tactical Air) is an American defense contractor headquartered in Reno, Nevada at Reno-Stead Airport. Almost all of its employees are former fighter weapons school and operational commanders, instructors, and/or test pilots that specialize in advanced tactical air support. Tactical Air provides consulting and commercial air services (including JTAC training, UAV chase, flight training, maintenance, logistics, and adversary support) to U.S. and allied forces in a manner similar to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC) and the USAF Weapons School. TacAir Global, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tactical Air Support, Inc., focuses on international training.
Tactical Air owns and operates a fleet of 25 supersonic F-5 fighter aircraft, largely consisting of an improved, lower flight-time version of the current Adversary platform of the U.S. Navy (USN) and Marine Corps (USMC). Tactical Air has operated F-5 aircraft since 2013. The F-5 is a proven Adversary aircraft also formerly used by the USAF in this role and currently operational with 19 international air forces. Tactical Air F-5s are upgraded with HUD/HOTAS, open architecture mission computers and tailored Operational Flight Programs that enable integration of advanced radar and RWR systems, IRSTS, EA, datalinks, and HOBS simulated weapons employment. Tactical Air is proud to bring our upgraded fleet of F-5 Advanced Tigers (AT) as a 4th generation adversary platform with 3rd generation economy.