Military Aviation

Top Aces completes first ‘Adversary Air’ training mission with upgraded A-4 Advanced Aggressor Fighter in Canada

Top Aces A-4 Advanced Aggressor Fighter

Top Aces, the world’s leading provider of advanced adversary air (ADAIR) and joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) training to allied forces, proudly announces the successful completion of its first training mission in Canada with the A-4 Advanced Aggressor Fighter (AAF), as the images in this post show. This event marks the start of AAF service delivery, which was stipulated in an amendment to Top Aces’ Contracted Airborne Training Services (CATS) contract, as announced by the Government of Canada in December 2023.

Renowned for innovation and collaborative efforts with customers to evolve its service offering, Top Aces has been the trusted training partner to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) since 2005. The first two A-4 AAFs arrived in Canada in late May, complementing the company’s existing Canadian aggressor fleet of Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets and Bombardier Learjet 35s.

Each A-4 AAF aircraft is equipped with Top Aces’ proprietary, open architecture ‘Advanced Aggressor Mission System’ (AAMS), an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, and tactical datalink capabilities. The AAF configuration can replicate the advanced systems of a near-peer, threat aircraft.

Air-combat training in support of RCAF CF-18 pilots

This week’s first mission featured an A-4 AAF along with a formation of Alpha Jets, conducting air-combat training in support of RCAF CF-18 pilots based out of 4-Wing Cold Lake, Alberta. In addition to improving training for CF-18 aircrew, the introduction of A-4 AAF aircraft allows the RCAF to refocus internal resources on higher value training activities, particularly as they prepare for the F-35 transition.

“Service is the value that leads our organization. As a proud home-grown Canadian company, Top Aces is committed to providing the CAF with cutting-edge training solutions to ensure our servicemen and women are fully prepared for any mission their country entrusts to them,” said Paul Bouchard, CEO of Top Aces, in a company news release.

James “Preston” Manning, Vice-President – Canada, Top Aces Inc., concludes: “Canada’s forward-thinking approach to the CATS program has prompted Air Forces worldwide to follow suit. Especially as allied counterparts shift towards 5th Generation fleets, they increasingly acknowledge this industry’s importance for operational efficiency, extending fleet lifespan, and supporting the continued service of veterans.”

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. A-4F Skyhawk VA-212 Rampant Riders, NP306 / 155019 / 1970

The Skyhawk

Top Aces A-4 AFF is basically a Douglas A-4N Skyhawk aircraft a proven and trusted platform for all mission profiles. The A-4N variant was upgraded extensively in-service. The single and dual-seat Skyhawks have been upgraded by Top Aces and have modernized IFR, Tactical Air Navigation System, and ESCAPAC ejection seats for maximum operational flexibility and aircrew safety. In addition, the company is now integrating its proprietary Advanced Aggressor Mission System onto its Skyhawks, allowing its aircraft to simulate the highly advanced capabilities of latest generation air-to-air combat opponents.

Nearly 3,000 A-4s were produced between 1956 to 1979, their service including assignment to front line US Navy squadrons, duty as aggressor aircraft and the role of advanced trainers, the latter aircraft designated TA-4s and including two-seat cockpits. During the years 1974-1986, the A-4 also equipped the Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. All told, over 20 versions of the Skyhawk were delivered to the US military and air forces of foreign nations, including Israel and Argentina, which took the aircraft into combat during the Arab/Israeli Wars and the Falkland Islands War respectively.

This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

Photo credit: Top Aces

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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