The Leonardo, Top Aces and Inzpire team, named Red Aces, has been down-selected by the Ministry of Defence to compete for a contract to meet the Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) capability.

The UK’s Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) programme aims to meet the training component of UK air support across the Air Force, Navy, Army and Joint Forces Commands from 2020, progressively replacing existing contracted and military service provision as these programmes expire or reach their planned end of service date.

In June 2016 the Ministry of Defence released information on what the UK Military Flight Training Systems Project Team would be seeking from the multi-phased programme. These requirements – still subject to refinement – currently cover the provision of live flying assets to meet training requirements for air to air combat; air to surface combat; joint terminal attack controller / forward air controller (airborne); electronic warfare; air traffic control, ground based air defence and aerospace battle management; and live gunnery. There is a growing segment within the adversary air combat training market for highly advanced aggressor capabilities to be able to perform realistic combat training.

Leonardo say that Team Red Aces is “creating an industry-leading solution to provide a safe, highly representative live air support service to the British Armed Forces and its allies.”

Inzpire is already trusted, they say, by the RAF Air Warfare Centre, RAF Typhoon Force, and Air Battlespace Training Centre at RAF Waddington to design and deliver large-scale live and synthetic operational training. The company has one-of-a-kind experience in LVC (live, virtual, constructive) training research, development, and delivery in the UK. Inzpire’s pilots conduct live combat training with Typhoon for the Royal Air Force and for the British Army with Apache and Wildcat helicopter pilots on a daily basis. For ASDOT, as with their existing training delivery, Inzpire will act as “Red Lead” by producing, leading and executing the Aggressor plan.

“Top Aces is the most experienced provider of turnkey tactical airborne training in the world. With more than 68,000 accident-free flight hours and Main Operating Bases across three continents, Top Aces is preparing to introduce the next generation of aggressor training using advanced 4th generation supersonic aggressor aircraft.

Flown by highly experienced Fighter Weapons Instructor pilots, and equipped with advanced radar and electronic attack (EA) systems, as well as other advanced on-board systems, Top Aces will deliver the mission profiles, flexibility, and availability demanded by ASDOT.”

Recently, Babcock and Elbit Systems entered into a partnering agreement to pursue the Ministry of Defence’s ‘aggressor air’ capability under the Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) programme. Also joining is Saab with the Gripen Aggressor.

Not to be left out, Cobham Special Mission has also announced that it has signed a Teaming Agreement with Draken International for jointly developing solutions for the delivery of operational readiness training under the UK MoD’s Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) programme.

No aircraft type or project team has yet been selected.

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Peter Crisp

Call me picky if you like but the name Inzpire is just terrible.
It’s a military contract it doesn’t need to try and get down with the kids.

I pity the people on trade stands who have to promote that name.


I am a kid and that made me cringe so much

Daniele Mandelli

So what ends up cut this time?

100 Squadron? JFAC training unit? RAF ATC School? RAF Spadeadaam?

Creeping privatisation of the military continues.

Peter Crisp

It doesn’t cost much to hire the teenagers needed to be part of a team called Inzpire.

[…] post Leonardo team down-selected for UK ASDOT competition appeared first on UK Defence […]

Philip Creasey

I have to concur with the comments above. The forces in training need instruction from experienced older men & women who have been there, done that and wear the tee shirt. Not training from some civvy dipstick who would s…t his or her pants at the first sign of a problem / enemy forces in the cross hairs.
We need battle hardened veterans as trainers not ‘snowflakes’ only interested in corporate profits.
Is it any wonder the Russians take the p…s and bring Novichok into the UK. They think we are soft and a joke. # not far wrong.

Ben Kane

The Red Aces consortium of Leonardo, Inzpire & Discovery have been making a big song & dance about this all week to anyone that will listen, however what they aren’t telling anyone is that Discovery Air are bankrupt and being investigated for corruption, hence the change of name to top aces.

And there’s 3 others bidding!


RAF Spadeadam is a range area – not sure what benefit it would have releasing this facility as it is a well used nato range. As an aside – its go the old blustreak rock silo there which is truly awesome (very James Bond) even though its been derelict for 50 years. I remember when they started outsourcing the catering and it went from all you can eat to 1 sausage and 1 bacon…. now they dont have enough cooks to deploy. These things need to be carefully considered, not least from a perspective of why would people join if… Read more »


Outsourcing was at Winchester – not spadeadam. And it is Blue Streak

Daniele Mandelli

I mentioned Spadeadam as the article mentions EW, which is indeed what that range is primarily used for.

Soviet era SAM’s and radars, Sky guard radars, simulators producing emissions of possible threats, a mock airfield complete with aircraft, don’t recall if they were dummies or just old Mig 17’s or something like that, all sorts on that site. Very interesting.

By Winchester catering Pacman I presume you mean Worthy Down Barracks with the Defence Catering School.


Interesting company Leonardo, with their Raven ES AESA radar fitted to the Gripen E (/F) and the Typhoon.


If Inzpire does your nut in QinetiQ can’t be far behind, or ‘dstl’ officially being in lower case….

Doubt that Spade are involved in this, although the Cobham DA20s that currently do airborne EW training will go. Unless Cobham get the contract I suppose.

Oscar Zulu

In 2017 the ADF contracted a Canadian company, Discovery Air-Defence (DA Defence), to provide a service utilising three Dornier Alpha Jets to operate out of RAAF Base Williamtown near Sydney.

In 2018 Discovery Air-Defence reverted to their earlier corporate name Top Aces, and are now part of the Red Aces consortium down selected for the RAF requirement.

In Australia the Alpha Jets provide an aerial opposing force and target support across the RAAF, RAN and Australian Army.

Lee H

Afternoon guys This is good news, rationalisation of the services currently provided by many organisations and services. All the guys are ex military so it gives a good career path for QFI’s, AWI’s etc. For more money to be divested to the front line services that can be civilianised should be. The only thing I would ask for is the Red Air pilots, ground crews and ops staff are also put onto the reserve list so that we do not lose the skills et al if required. This is all good stuff guys,completion for the contract is strong, it releases… Read more »

P tattersall

The USA spend a fortune on defence Russia spend peanuts .. USA needs to keep Biggin up potential enemy’s to keep a massive defence spend ..tell the truth and USA defence spend would drop