Top Aces is a Dorval-based company that offers flight training services. It offers advanced combat training services with opponents. It also provides air defense and joint controller services for the attack finale. The strategic training offered by Top Aces improves and strengthens the operational preparation of the combat forces. Using real aircraft allows Top Aces to reproduces real combat conditions.
The use of Top Aces aircrafts improves the lifespan of its customers’ fleets. The high level of performance achieved by Top Aces has earned it international recognition. In addition to Canada, the company provides services to the United Kingdom and Australia. Last fall, Top Aces also became a service provider for the US Air Force.
Last fall, the company raised C $ 100 million through a private equity offering. In fact, the Caisse de depot et de placement du Quebec became a shareholder of Top Aces on this occasion. The money raised was intended to finance the expansion and acquisition of aircraft. Last week, Top Aces completed the acquisition of 25 Belgian Alpha Jet. Following this announcement, I requested additional information from Top Aces.
This winter Top Aces had mentioned its intention to acquire F-16 fighters. The company plans to use these aircraft for training services with the US Air Force. So I wanted to know where the purchase of these F-16s was. Ms. Rachel Andrews who is Director of Marketing and Communications answered my questions. Regarding the F-16s, she said:
“We have purchased 29 F-16 aircraft from a Foreign Military Sale customer. The aircraft have been actively preserved and are fit for flight. We are currently finalizing Third Party Transfer with the U.S. State Department and expect them in Mesa, Arizona, our US headquarters in the late 2020.”
However, Ms. Andrews was unable to disclose the name of the F-16 vendor.
A persistent rumor
So I turned to my Aeropod collegue, Mr. Olivier Lacombe, to find out more. A first observation is obvious: used fighter planes vendors are much rarer than used cars vendors. In the case of the F-16s, four countries have used aircraft for sale: Belgium, Israel, Holland and Portugal.
In the case of Top Aces, rumors have been circulating for several months that the company would buy Israeli F-16 A and B aircraft. It must be said that Israel has been trying to sell its F-16 A and B for over three years now. Then a recent event came to fuel the rumor mill: lately, the Israeli government held an auction of used military equipment. (yes, an auction where the highest bidder wins).
During this sale, several types of aircraft were put on sale, including fighters and cargo planes. Among other things, five F-16 Cs were put up for sale but none of F-16 A and B. The absence of F-16 A and B from the list suggests that the Israeli government would have found a buyer.
Israel bought a total of 75 F-16s A and B all from block 10. It must be said that some aircraft were from block 5 but had been upgraded. The Israeli F-16s were initially destined for Iran, but the overthrow of the Shah blocked the sale. The first aircraft were delivered to Israel in 1980.
A funny fact
With this latest acquisition, Top Aces will have a fleet of nearly 75 used fighter jets. This is almost as much as the entire fleet of Canadian fighter jets. This means that a Canadian private company own as many fighter jets as its own government. This is the kinds of statistics that make Canada so different from other countries.>>> Follow us on Facebook and Twitter