Visiting the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC): July 2020

The US Navy is in the throes of reworking its capability to prevail in the high-end fight while ensuring its ability to engage in full spectrum crisis management.There is no clearer proof of this judgment than the latest efforts at the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC).

Most people know this as TOPGUN and envisage Tom Cruise-type characters preparing for air combat somewhere in global conflict.

But today’s NAWDC is focused not simply on training for the integrated air wing, but the integratable air wing engaging in leveraging and enhancing fleet-wide operations and working closely with joint and coalition force partners.


Why F-5s Beat Out F-16s For The Navy’s Latest Commercial Aggressor Contract

The Government Accountability Office recently announced it had rejected a protest from the Airborne Tactical Advantage Company, or ATAC, over a U.S. Navy multi-million dollar contract award for ?red air? aggressors that went to its less established competitor Tactical Air Support, Inc., or TacAir. The supporting documentation offers extremely interesting insights into the requirements the service had asked of prospective private contractors and the capabilities those firms offered. The information is especially enlightening as the U.S. Air Force is likely taking similar factors into account as they consider bids for their own massive adversary support deal.

GAO only posted its decision online in November 2018, despite having reached its conclusion on Sept. 28, 2018. The decision has been ?subject to a GAO Protective Order? and now publicly available in a redacted form. Under the contract, worth $118.9 million over the next five years, TacAir will support the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC) and the Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, better known as Topgun, both of which are located at Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon in Nevada. They will also provide aggressor duties for carrier air wing workups which happen a few times throughout the year. A fleet of at least five modified F-5AT jets will fly a combined total of approximately 1,700 hours annually under the fixed-price deal.