The military constantly needs combat training with skilled pilots flying as the “bad guys.” The U.S. Air Force has an increasing demand for this adversary air service and it’s turning to Draken International to provide it. At the same time, Draken is turning to Florida Polytechnic University for its high-tech expertise.
Draken, the leading company in adversary air service in the world, partnered with Florida Poly seeking support in specific areas of high-tech applied research. Students and faculty are now involved in modernizing the company’s fleet of aircraft with more advanced software and also improving their global supply-chain logistics and warehousing techniques.
The partnership includes multiple interns at Draken’s headquarters at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport beginning this summer and moving into the fall semester. The internships focus on supply-chain management, as well as new software and app development.
Both sides of the partnership expect these collaborating opportunities to continue indefinitely and will likely be supplemented with capstone design projects for Florida Poly students.
“Who is the best innovative thinker other than a brand new college student who has no paradigms on how they think on problem solving,” said John Baum, vice president for security and strategic projects at Draken.
Baum added that Florida Poly provides what he calls the “missing link” between industry, academia and government.
Draken owns over 100 tactical fighter aircraft and operates the largest commercial fleet of ex-military jets in the world. The company plays the role of enemy aircraft, known as Red Air forces, in training exercises for multiple branches of the U.S. military and other Air Forces around the globe.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Air Force awarded Draken a $280 million contract to provide adversary air services at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada, through 2023.
“Lakeland and Central Florida have been an integral part of our success, and now having Florida Poly as a partner, we’re really going to be able to continue to be innovators and change the way we utilize our assets and the way we improve our efficiencies,” Baum said.
Dr. Randy K. Avent, president of Florida Poly, said this partnership with Draken is another example of how the university is fulfilling its mission to advance Florida’s economy.
“This is precisely the reason Florida Poly was established –to help high-tech companies manage the complex challenges of the world we operate in,” said Avent.
“We’re looking forward to many years of collaboration and success with Draken International.”