Draken International announces leadership transition

Draken International, LLC., a global leader providing operational readiness training for US and Allied militaries, announced today that US Marine Corp General (ret.) Gary Thomas has been named Chief Executive Officer, and that Draken executive Bill Tart has been promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer. 

The leadership transition occurs as Draken advances its mission of improving readiness outcomes and reducing cost burdens for military aviation customers. Over the course of 2021, Draken led the industry with the first deployment of supersonic aircraft to support commercial adversary air training for the United States Air Force, the integration of the world’s leading electronic warfare training provider through the acquisition of Cobham Aviation Services UK, and the largest commercial acquisition of F-16 aircraft in history through fleet agreements with governments in The Netherlands and Norway. General Thomas succeeds Joseph M. Ford, who has served as CEO since 2020.

“I am excited to join Draken’s world class team of aviators and maintainers as the partner of choice to provide the readiness we need at costs that the modern force can afford,” General Thomas said. “I look forward to working with Bill and the Draken team as we bring more capability, innovation, and excellence in support of our customers’ readiness objectives.”

“This is a transformational period for Draken and an exciting time in our industry. Current geopolitical challenges and defense budgets are driving US and Allied customers to focus more on operational readiness than ever.  The men and women throughout Draken are answering that call,” Tart said.  “I look forward to working closely with Gary to position the company for our next series of technological advancements and can reaffirm Draken remains laser focused on the mission of delivering the most advanced and affordable threat replication and electronic warfare training to our global partners.  Joe has been instrumental in setting the vision and driving Draken’s high standards and in doing so positioned the company for continued success in the future.”

“I’m extremely proud of the team across Draken International who continue to lead the industry through tremendous growth,” Ford added. “Together, we have positioned the company to ensure our customers are prepared to prevail in future conflict. It has been a true honor to lead this team of dedicated and patriotic professionals and I look forward to seeing what they will accomplish in Draken’s next stage of growth.”