'Red Air' Mirage F1B Slides Off Runway at Tyndall Air Force Base; Pilots' Conditions Unknown

An F-1 Mirage with the Airborne Tactical Advantage Company.
An F-1 Mirage with the Airborne Tactical Advantage Company sits on the flight line at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Dec. 14, 2020. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Magen M. Reeves)

A French-made Mirage F1B fighter crashed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida on Thursday morning, officials with the base said. The aircraft belongs to Airborne Tactical Advantage Company LLC, known as ATAC, the Air Force said.

According to a base statement, the incident took place at approximately 11:25 a.m. at the end of a flightline.

The two-seat F1B crashed after it slid off the runway, and "one of the pilots ejected," ATAC officials said in an email to Military.com.

"ATAC is still gathering information on the incident and we will work with relevant authorities to determine the cause. We ask for your patience and understanding as we work through all the details," a company statement said.

Col. Gregory Moseley, 325th Fighter Wing commander, said in a statement that the unit's "thoughts and prayers are with the pilots and their families."

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First responders were dispatched to the scene, Moseley said, and both pilots were taken to a hospital in Panama City "to assess injuries sustained during the crash."

"Tyndall is working closely with ATAC to ensure a thorough and timely investigation of the incident occurs," he said.

Local news sites first reported that "multiple agencies" had responded to the flightline earlier in the day.

The Air Force contracts out its aggressor training, in which its pilots simulate fighting against enemy "red air" forces in air-to-air training.

In 2019, the service issued an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the program to ATAC, a subsidiary of Textron Airborne Solutions; Air USA Inc.; Blue Air Training; Coastal Defense; Draken International; Tactical Air Support, known as TacAir; and Top Aces Corp.

Outsourcing the service's assault and combat training to these companies cost $6.4 billion, according to the contract announcement. As a result, a number of the red air companies have been expanding their aggressor fleets.

In 2017, ATAC bought upgraded F1 fighters from France; the company flew its first Mirage in August 2019.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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