Top Aces is the first commercial provider to deliver contracted air training to the USAF using the supersonic F-16 platform.
Top Aces, the world’s only commercial owner/operator of F-16 fighter aircraft, announced on Sep. 12, 2022 that it was selected under the US Air Force (USAF) Combat Air Force Contracted Air Support program to provide advanced adversary air training to pilots at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida and Luke AFB in Arizona.
According to a company news release, Top Aces will begin training in support of USAF F-35A and F-22 fleets next month. Valued at up to $175 million USD, this five-year contract will significantly enhance the training of fifth generation combat pilots.
Top Aces is the first commercial provider to deliver contracted air training to the USAF using the supersonic F-16 platform, and is the only company in the world to operate the F-16 Advanced Aggressor Fighter (AAF).
The company announced that it got Military Flight Release (MFR) from the USAF for its F-16 AAF aircraft on Aug. 16.
MFR allows Top Aces’ F-16 AAFs, the most sophisticated adversary air platform on the market today, to immediately begin supporting USAF flight training programs.
Equipped with Top Aces’ proprietary Advanced Aggressor Mission System (AAMS), the F-16 AAF replicates near-peer adversary fighter aircraft. Since AAMS is founded on open system architecture, it facilitates the rapid integration of sensors and functions to match evolving adversary threats.
Today, the F-16 AAF is fielded with:
- Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) air-to-air radar
- Scorpion Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (HMCS)
- Tactical datalink communications
- Infrared search and track (IRST) systems
- Advanced electronic attack pod employment
- Passive radio frequency (RF) detection capabilities
- High fidelity weapon simulation – accurately replicates adversary weapons and tactics
- An array of tactical functions coordinating the above systems which offer a wide spectrum of realistic adversary effects.
“To provide effective training to pilots flying fifth-generation fighters – such as the F-22 or F-35 – we must match the capabilities of near-peer adversary fighter aircraft,” says Russ Quinn, President, Top Aces Corp., a 26-year USAF veteran and former Aggressor pilot. “By combining the power and avionics of the F-16 with AAMS, we can replicate contemporary adversary threats with accuracy and cost-efficiency. And now with MFR, Top Aces is cleared to deliver the most advanced training solution available to the USAF.”
A pioneer of adversary air training, Top Aces’ group of companies has delivered more than 100,000 accident-free flight hours in the past 17 years. This partnership will provide an unprecedented opportunity for USAF pilots to train with a team of professionals including the most experienced former Aggressor pilots and tactical controllers in the country.
“Top Aces’ cadre of highly-experienced Aggressor pilots and maintenance crews looks forward to supporting Luke and Eglin to fulfill their advanced combat training needs,” says Quinn. “With our fleet of F-16 AAFs, we deliver a caliber of adversary air training that was previously non-existent. Our commitment is to deliver professional excellence and significant cost efficiencies.”
Photo credit: Top Aces