Top Aces' F-16s will begin providing ‘Red Air' contractor-based training for the US Air Force from October. (Top Aces)
The first privately owned Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft have been contracted to provide ‘Red Air' Aggressor training for the US Department of Defense (DoD).
Top Aces Corporation announced the deal on 12 September, saying that the 29 F-16A/B ‘Netz' jets it acquired from Israel and upgraded will provide the US Air Force (USAF) with adversary air training under the Combat Air Force Contracted Air Support (CAF CAS) programme.
“Top Aces will begin training in support of USAF [Lockheed Martin] F-35A [Lightning II] and [Lockheed Martin] F-22 [Raptor] fleets next month. Valued at up to USD175 million, this five-year contract will significantly enhance the training of fifth-generation combat pilots,” the contractor said. The training will be flown out of Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida and Luke AFB in Arizona.
Having received the surplus Israeli Air Force F-16A/Bs in 2021, Top Aces upgraded the jets with its own open architecture Advanced Aggressor Mission System (AAMS), which features technologies including an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, infrared search-and-track (IRST), advanced datalink, and helmet-mounted cueing systems.