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Top Aces extends Canadian Armed Forces adversary air training agreement through 2029

December 6, 2023  By Wings Staff

Top Aces' A-4 Advanced Aggressor Fighter will be added to Royal Canadian Air Force training early next year. (Photo: Éric Desbiens, Top Aces)

Top Aces, which provides advanced adversary air and joint terminal attack controller training to allied forces, has both extended and amended its pre-existing Contracted Airborne Training Services agreement with Canada through October 2029. Top Aces has been a training partner of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) since 2005, operating a fleet of upgraded Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets and Bombardier Learjet 35s.

With this contract extension and amendment, Top Aces’ A-4 Skyhawk Advanced Aggressor Fighter (AAF) will join the company’s Canadian fleet early next year. Deployment of this aircraft will add advanced radar and tactical datalink to the Contracted Airborne Training Services (CATS) offering. The AAF configuration, explains Top Aces, better replicates current adversary fighter aircraft and will enhance the training of RCAF CF-18 pilots, particularly as phase II of the CF-18 Hornet extension project (HEP) is underway.

The addition of the A-4 AAF to Top Aces’ training fleet will allow the RCAF to reduce the use of CF-18s in adversary roles, explains the training operator, and help mitigate the anticipated human resources challenges associated with the transition to the F-35.

Two Top Aces’ A-4 AAFs will begin training with the RCAF next spring, expanding to four aircraft by 2025. These aircraft will be equipped with Top Aces’ proprietary open architecture Advanced Aggressor Mission System (AAMS), which enables the integration of advanced capabilities, including tactical datalink, Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and numerous other potential upgrades.


“Top Aces continues to modernize and enhance our services to meet the evolving needs of the RCAF,” says Paul Bouchard, Founder and CEO, Top Aces. “The addition of AAMS is very significant because it integrates sensors and functions that replicate advanced adversary fighter aircraft. This latest enhancement will be particularly beneficial to the RCAF as it transitions to the HEP2 CF-18 and subsequently the F-35.

“Canada’s visionary approach to CATS has been adopted by air forces worldwide, including the U.S. Air Force and other allies in Europe,” continued Bouchard. “Today, Top Aces is very proud to extend its long-standing partnership with Canada. We will deliver advanced training services that enhance combat readiness and offer numerous cost-efficiencies in support of CAF operations.”


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