Draken International is the largest operator of tactical aircraft in the world. The company was founded in 2011 when it evolved from the Black Diamond Jet Team, an airshow act owned by entrepreneur Jared Isaacman.
Amongst its other aircraft, it owns a fleet of 14 A-4 Skyhawks, six of which were originally RAN A4G aircraft* but were acquired by Draken from the RNZAF.
The story of Draken is a fascinating one, and can be read here: Draken Text together with beautiful photographs of the A4s and its other tactical aircraft.
A short video of Draken and the work it does can be found here: Draken Video
A 20 minute professionally produced video of Draken and its operations can be seen here: Draken Text
Article and photographs courtesy of Air Combat Monthly Dec 2015.
* Out of the 20 RAN Skyhawks only eight survived. Ten were destroyed in RAN accidents and a further two in RNZAF accidents. On retirement from RNZAF Service six of the remaining eight went to Draken, as listed below. One went to OMAKA museum whilst the only surviving TA4G is at the FAA Museum at NAS Nowra.
Bu.No. then NZ then RAN numbers DRAKEN
154904 ex NZ6212 = ex RAN A4G 883 N142EM
154905 ex NZ6213 = ex RAN A4G 884 N143EM
154908 ex NZ6214 = ex RAN A4G 887 N144EM
155052 ex NZ6215 = ex RAN A4G 871 N145EM
155063 ex NZ6217 = ex RAN A4G 876 N146EM
155069 ex NZ6218 = ex RAN A4G 877 N147EM
Draken aircraft are beautifully maintained, as illustrated by an email received by one of our members back in 2014:
|Subject:||Re: A4 Skyhawks|
|Date:||Fri, 3 Oct 2014 22:38:51 -0400|
|To:||email@example.com, Jared Isaacman|
I flew the former RAN 887 (Now N144EM) recently and it ran great.