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 F-16 around the world

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MessageSujet: F-16 around the world   F-16 around the world - Page 33 Icon_minitimeSam 22 Sep 2007 - 19:54

Rappel du premier message :

l'AS a des AIM-120C

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و كان حقا علينا نصر المؤمنين - حب الأوطان من الإيمان

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MessageSujet: Re: F-16 around the world   F-16 around the world - Page 33 Icon_minitimeLun 12 Sep 2016 - 19:47

Citation :
11/09/2016

Lockheed-Martin lance le F-16 « Viper « Block80/85 !



F-16 around the world - Page 33 5841

Je vous en parlais en juillet dernier sous le titre « le F-16 n’a pas dit son dernier mot » l’avionneur américain Lockheed-Martin vient de présenter une nouvelle version de son célèbre F-16. L’objectif est double, d’un part moderniser les flottes actuelles encore en service et de l’autre conquérir de nouveaux marchés là ou le F-35 s’avère trop cher. Sur certains marchés, l’avionneur prévoit même de présenter une double offre à choix pour le client avec le F-35 et le nouvel F-16.

Le F-16 « Viper « Block80/85

Le Lockheed-Martin F-16 « Viper » Block80/85 est le dernier et le plus avancé de la famille des « Fighting Falcon ». La configuration F-16V comprend de nombreuses améliorations destinées à maintenir le F-16 à la pointe des avions de combat. Selon Lockheed-Martin, cette nouvelle version va fournir des capacités de combat de pointe tout en restant une solution évolutive et abordable pour le client.

Le F-16V dispose d’un nouveau radar à antenne électronique Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Northrop-Grumman APG-83 « Radar Scalable Agile Beam ». L'APG-83 fournit aux pilotes une vision inégalée en matière de détail de la zone de cibles et d’affichages cartographiques numérique couplé à un système IRST. L’avionique est également améliorée avec un écran géant 6x8 central (CPD) à haute résolution, un nouveau bus de données à haute vitesse. Les capacités opérationnelles sont améliorées grâce à un nouveau système de liaisons de données Link-16 « Theater Data Link », l’adjonction de la dernière version de la nacelle de désignation « Sniper », d’un nouveau système de navigation et de précision par GPS. L’avion est également doté du système automatique Ground Collision Avoidance (Auto GCAS). De plus un grand nombre de logiciels sont communs avec les F-22 et F-35. Cette communité des systèmes permet de rendre le F-16V compatible en matière d’échange de données avec les deux autres appareils. En matière d’armement, le F-16V permet d’emporter l’ensemble des armes disponibles et futures en de l’US Air Force.

Gagner de nouveaux marchés :

Pour l’avionneur américain, ce nouveau F-16 est l’occasion de venir prospecter de nouveaux marchés en Asie, Amérique Latine et en Europe et de combler les lacunes de prix du F-35. Par ailleurs, une étude interne montre que de nombreux clients potentiels n’ont pas les moyens de se doter du F-35, mais n’ont pas non plus un intérêt justifié à acquérir un avion de type furtif.

Le F-16V proposé à la Suisse ?

En ce qui concerne le projet du nouvel avion de combat dont la préparation à débuté en janvier dernier, Lockheed-Martin semble très intéressée à proposer une double proposition avec le F-35 mais également le F-16V. Pour Lockheed-Martin, le F-16V aura un rapport prix/qualité excellent pour notre pays et ne demande aucune adaptation des infrastructures en place.

F-16 around the world - Page 33 5746
Photos : 1 F-16 Viper Block 80/85 2 Cockpit grand écrans non représentatif du F-16@ Lockheed-Martin

http://psk.blog.24heures.ch/archive/2016/09/11/lockheed-martin-lance-le-f-16-viper-block80-85-862076.html
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MessageSujet: Re: F-16 around the world   F-16 around the world - Page 33 Icon_minitimeVen 16 Sep 2016 - 21:29

Citation :
VIDEO. Un pilote de chasse évanoui sauvé par son F-16
TECHNOLOGIE Le crash a été évité grâce à un système installé sur l’appareil…

Deux mille mètres de chute et une peur bleue. Un pilote a subi un G-LOC (une perte de connaissance due à la puissance G reçue) aux commandes de son avion de chasse lors d’un exercice mené en Arizona. Sans pilote conscient à bord, le F-16 effectue une chute vertigineuse de deux mille mètres en quelques secondes (à voir dans la vidéo) avant qu’il ne se stabilise automatiquement à environ 2.500 mètres au-dessus du sol.

La scène se déroule au mois de mai, mais la vidéo n’a été déclassifiée que le 13 septembre sur YouTube. On y voit les données enregistrées par l’avion de combat et on entend hurler les opérateurs lorsque le pilote ne répond plus et que l’appareil commence à piquer du nez.

Ce sauvetage n’a toutefois rien d’un miracle. L’appareil est équipé de l’Auto-GCAS, un système automatique justement conçu pour empêcher un crash. Conçu par la NASA, l’Air Force et l’entreprise Lockheed Martin, il est progressivement installé sur les F-16 depuis 2014 et a déjà été salvateur à quatre reprises, dont une fois lors d’une opération en Syrie visant l’État islamique.



http://www.20minutes.fr/monde/1924663-20160914-video-pilote-chasse-evanoui-sauve-f-16
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La Turquie, L'Egypte et La Grèce vont prendre le Northrop SABR AESA

source : http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/show-daily/farnborough/2016/07/13/lockheed-martin-looks-upgrade-500--service-f-16s/87021372/

on prévoit un upgrade de 500 appareils

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MessageSujet: Re: F-16 around the world   F-16 around the world - Page 33 Icon_minitimeMer 20 Fév 2019 - 18:15

https://theaviationist.com/2019/02/20/lockheed-martin-offers-india-enhanced-f-16-block-70-multirole-combat-aircraft-dubbed-f-21/

Citation :

Lockheed Martin Offers India Enhanced F-16 Block 70 Multirole Combat Aircraft Dubbed “F-21”



F-16 around the world - Page 33 F-21
An artist conception of the new F-21 (Image credit: Lockheed Martin).


Lockheed Martin has just unveiled the new jet the giant U.S. defense company is offering India in response to the Indian Air Force’s RFI (Request For Information) for 110 fighters, worth over 15B USD.

Dubbed F-21 (a designation used by the IAI Kfir in US service) and introduced by the slogans “Make in India” and “India’s Pathway to F-35”, the aircraft would be built locally in partnership with India’s Tata Advanced Systems.

“The F-21 is different, inside and out,” Vivek Lall, vice president of Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said in a statement. However, the aircraft, that would be “specially configured to address the Indian Air Force’s unique requirements and integrates India into the world’s largest fighter aircraft ecosystem with the world’s pre-eminent defence company”, appears to be an enhanced F-16 Block 70, a configuration upgrade of the F-16V, “the most technologically advanced 4th generation fighter in the world” that made its first flight on Oct. 16, 2015, that is an evolution of the proven F-16 Mid-Life Update (MLU) and Common Configuration Improvement Program (CCIP) and that was already pitched to India in the past.


The Block 70 upgrades included an AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar, a modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based avionics subsystem, the AN/APX-126 Advanced IFF, the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System II, CFT (Conformal Fuel Tanks); and a high-volume, high-speed data bus as well as other baseline features such as a Link-16 Theater Data Link, Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod, advanced weapons, precision GPS navigation, and the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS).

One of the most interesting upgrades of the Block 70 to the baseline F-16s is the Northrop Grumman’s advanced APG-83 AESA radar, that enables greater detection and tracking ranges, multiple target track (20-plus target tracks), high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) maps for all-environment precision strike, interleaved air-to-air and air-to-surface mode operations for improved situational awareness, operational effectiveness and survivability; and robust electronic protection for operations in dense radio frequency (RF) environments. Interestingly, the APG-83 is derived from Northrop Grumman’s family of highly successful 5th generation fighter AESA radars, the F-22’s APG-77 and F-35’s APG-81, thus providing the F-16 radar capabilities of 5th Generation platforms with hardware and software commonality with F-22 and F-35 AESA radars.

F-16 around the world - Page 33 APG-83-AESA

The APG-83 AESA as described in the Lockheed Martin “F-16 Block 70 for India” brochure. (Image credit: LM).

Based on the first animations and renderings appeared online, the F-21 will embed further modifications the most evident of those is the probe of the IFR (In Flight Refueling) system coming out from the right dorsal CFT:

   From the dorsal section, to a triple launcher to the probe-drogue system, here’s everything that’s different in @LockheedMartin’s F-21 compared to the F-16 Block 70. #AeroIndia2019 https://t.co/INEfBVMOLg pic.twitter.com/2mdlHyFYti

   — Livefist (@livefist) February 20, 2019

Worth of note is also the towed decoy system deployed from the base of the tail: the F-16 Block 70 was said to carry the ALE-50 ATD in a pylon under the wing.

The cockpit configuration has also changed a lot. The one proposed by the F-16 Block 70 upgrade was an evolution of the baseline Viper cockpit with the HUD (head-up display), two large displays on the front panel and a high-resolution, color video CPD (Center Pedestal Display). Instead, based on the Lockheed Martin launch video, the F-21 will have a wide-angle HUD an a Large Area Aviationcs Display much similar to the one used by the F-35.


F-16 around the world - Page 33 F-21-MFD
The F-21 glass cockpit. (Screenshot from LM F-21 launch video).
The F-21, in other words the highest spec F-16, will compete with 7 other aircraft in the IAF bid, more or less the same that competed in an earlier attempt to provide 126 fighter aircraft to the IAF, known as the Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), a pretty long and complex program scrapped in 2015 and replaced by a government to government deal with France for the procurement of 36 Rafale jets.

   Here’s how the 7 aircraft that have responded to the Indian Air Force’s RFI for 110 fighters are present at #AeroIndia2019. Clockwise from top left:
   F/A-18
   Rafale
   Gripen E
   Typhoon
   Su-35
   MiG-35
   F-21/F-16 Block 70 pic.twitter.com/os0Egs8zLe

   — Livefist (@livefist) February 20, 2019

What are the chances the Lockheed Martin F-21 will one day enter service with the Indian Air Force?

Hard to say. As already explained in an interview to LiveFist award winning Indian defense site, large procurement programs are most of times led by politics and price rather than capabilities and performance. Futhermore, Indian aerospace contracting has already proved to be chaotic and inefficient, and with several old and new contenders involved in a potential multi-billion dollar sale and a new long selection procedure ahead there is a significant risk to see an MMRCA “reloaded”: a never ending contracting procedure with subsequent negotiations similar to those which led to the failure of the original MMRCA v1.0.

That said, several years have passed since the first attempt and the Indian Air Force can’t wait any longer to get rid of its Soviet-era MiG-21 and MiG-27 jets and return to a number of squadron closer to the famous magic number of 42 ones mandated by the Cabinet Committee on Security.

So, let’s wait and see what happens this time.
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Merci pour le partage très intéressant.

Le F16 a encore de beau jour devant lui Cool

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Fahed64 a écrit:
Merci pour le partage très intéressant.

Le F16 a encore de beau jour devant lui Cool

Oui de très beaux jours, le flop du F-35 a jouer un rôle dans la prolongation de la vie des F-16

L'USAF passe ses F-16 à l'AESA et upgrade du système EW, pour les garder jusqu'en 2046 ! Ils ont choisit le AIDEWS entre autres.
Remarquez ils ont une équipe conjointe pour le développement commercial du programme F-16 et F-22. À croire que c'est le duo futur mono-moteur/bi-moteur avec un duo F-16 / F-22 full AESA compatible qu'ils veulent promouvoir Smile

Citation :
Northrop Grumman Gets Funding for Hundreds of F-16 Radars

Dec. 20, 2019 | By Rachel S. Cohen

Northrop Grumman will build hundreds of active electronically scanned array radars for the F-16 fighter jet under a Dec. 19 contract worth more than $1 billion.

The contract covers work on up to 372 radars through May 2027. It modifies an earlier award to finalize the funding.

AESA radars like Northrop’s APG-83 are used to find and identify targets.

“The greater bandwidth, speed, and agility of AESA radars enable fighter and legacy aircraft to detect, track, and identify a greater [number] of targets, faster and at longer ranges, and to operate in hostile electronic environments,” according to Northrop.

The radar is a “fifth-generation fighter radar capability for the fourth-gen aircraft,” the company said.

“Building on Northrop Grumman’s 40-year legacy producing radars for the F-16, [the APG-83] integrates within the F-16’s current structural, power and cooling constraints without … aircraft modification,” Northrop said

https://www.airforcemag.com/northrop-grumman-gets-funding-for-hundreds-of-f-16-radars/

Citation :
U.S. Air Force Seeks F-16 Jamming System Upgrade Supplier


A competition has opened between L3Harris and Northrop Grumman to upgrade the self-protection jamming systems on hundreds of U.S. Air Force F-16s.

L3Harris’ Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (Aidews) and Northrop’s ALQ-131A have been selected for a rapid prototyping process that will determine the upgrade supplier for the Air Force, both companies have announced.

The selection for the Other Transaction Agreement rapid prototyping program means the Air Force is keeping an open mind regarding the F-16’s self-protection upgrade, even though L3Harris has selected the Aidews as the baseline electronic warfare (EW) system for Lockheed’s F-16 Block 70 configuration for export customers.


The Air Force has started upgrading a subset of the F-16 fleet with Northrop APG-83 active, electronically scanned array radars (AESA). The AESA replacement for the APG-68(V) mechanically scanned radar drives a requirement for a more powerful EW system, says Randy Howard, Lockheed’s director of business development for the F-16/F-22 integrated team.

In January, the Air Force released the first details of the acquisition strategy for the F-16 EW upgrade. The new system should include a full suite of passive and active subsystems, including a digital radar warning receiver, self-protection jammer and towed decoy, according to the Air Force. Along with the radar upgrade, the improved self-protection system should help keep the surviving F-16 fleet relevant for combat through 2046.
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U.S. Air Force F-16 Aircraft Intercepts Cruise Missile Target with APKWS Rocket

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Godric aime ce message

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a good read: https://theaviationgeekclub.com/sa-3-vs-viper-the-thrilling-story-of-an-f-16-wild-weasel-mission-over-serbia/

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Un sabre laser pour le F-16 F-16 around the world - Page 33 10348
Citation :

Un F-16 «détruit» un missile avec une arme laser – vidéo


DÉFENSE
16:47 17.09.2020URL courte
Par Nikita Martynov


Des F-16 pourraient être équipés d'ici cinq ans d’un système d’arme laser capable de neutraliser des missiles air-air et sol-air. Une simulation de la neutralisation d’une attaque du genre a été publiée le 14 septembre sur YouTube.

Le constructeur Lockheed Martin a publié lundi 14 septembre sur YouTube la simulation d’une arme laser tactique aéroportée (TALWS) montée sur des avions F-16 Fighting Falcon en train de neutraliser un missile.



La séquence montre des F-16 équipés de nacelles laser coopérer avec des capteurs infrarouges tactiques installés à bord d'un avion ravitailleur Boeing KC-46 Pegasus qui peut détecter et suivre passivement les menaces.

Quand un avion ravitailleur détecte un missile entrant, il transmet sa position aux deux F-16 qui peuvent utiliser le directeur de faisceau dans les nacelles pour projeter une lumière à haute énergie sur la cible, la maintenir à distance puis la neutraliser.

Quelques caractéristiques

Selon le site FlightGlobal, Lockheed Martin s'est engagé à installer une arme laser défensive sur un avion d'ici cinq ans. Son système d'arme laser tactique aéroporté serait utilisé pour abattre des missiles air-air ou sol-air.

Pour alimenter le laser à haute énergie, un ensemble de batteries ou de condensateurs serait chargé à l’aide de la turbine à réaction de l’avion.

Interrogé par le site, Lockheed refuse de divulguer la portée et la cadence de tir du laser, notant que ces facteurs dépendront de la cible contre laquelle l'US Air Force voudra se défendre.

https://fr.sputniknews.com/defense/202009171044446306-un-f-16-detruit-un-missile-avec-une-arme-laser--video/
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MessageSujet: Re: F-16 around the world   F-16 around the world - Page 33 Icon_minitimeMer 9 Déc 2020 - 19:36

The Drive a écrit:

F-16 Belonging To The Wisconsin Air National Guard Crashes In Michigan

The aircraft crashed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula during a night training sortie.


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A Block 30 F-16 Viper belonging to the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing at Truax Field Air National Guard Base in Madison crashed at around 8:00 pm local time on December 8, 2020. The aircraft went down on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

A release from the 115th Fighter Wing reads in part:

...At the time of the incident, the aircraft was on a routine training mission with one pilot on board. Emergency responders are on scene. The cause of the crash, as well as the status of the pilot, are unknown at this time, and the incident is under investigation...

Michigan Live has posted the following regarding the ongoing response to the incident:

The crash occurred north of the U.P.’s Garden Peninsula, near the border of Delta and Schoolcraft counties in the Hiawatha National Forest. U.S. Forest Service workers joined with local authorities to set up a perimeter and begin the search late Tuesday.

According to U.P. media reports and unconfirmed police scanner traffic from emergency crews in the area, authorities had located a crash site and also had a broad area identified that could be the pilot’s ejection site.

Just days prior to the crash, the 115th Fighter Wing had announced that its Vipers would be executing night training from December 7th to the 10th.

We will update this post with additional information as it becomes available.

Update, 5:40 am PST: The 115th Fighter Wing has provided the following update on the situation:

The search for the pilot continues and the pilot’s status remains unknown at this time. The 115th Fighter Wing participated in a coordinated search effort with local emergency responders, the U.S. Coast Guard and other government agencies overnight. Search and rescue efforts on the ground, in the air, and in the water continue. The crash site, located in Delta County, Michigan was initially secured by local emergency responders, but military personnel and safety and security personnel from the 115th Fighter Wing are now on site. Additional personnel will be sent later today to help facilitate the safety and security of the crash site. “We are a close-knit family and when an incident like this occurs, every member in our organization feels it,” said Colonel Bart Van Roo, 115th Fighter Wing commander. “The safety of our pilot along with search and rescue efforts are our top priority, and we will continue to pray for the pilot’s safe return”. The incident remains under investigation.

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MessageSujet: Re: F-16 around the world   F-16 around the world - Page 33 Icon_minitimeJeu 14 Jan 2021 - 19:20

Northrop Grumman a écrit:

Northrop Grumman Downselected as Sole Contractor for US Air Force F-16 Electronic Warfare Suite

System prototype will provide full-spectrum radar warning, threat identification and advanced countermeasure capabilities for the Viper.


The U.S. Air Force has downselected Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) to complete the final project efforts to provide the electronic warfare suite for its F-16 fighter aircraft fleet. This critical capability will protect pilots from the growing danger of radio frequency-guided weapons by detecting, identifying and defeating advanced threat systems. The agreement was issued under SOSSEC Consortium’s Air Force Open System Acquisition Initiative (OSAI) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) for prototyping. Northrop Grumman will continue to team with non-traditional defense contractors for the execution of this OTA project.

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“The electronic warfare suite will significantly increase protection to F-16 operators as they execute their missions in increasingly contested environments,” said Ryan Tintner, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman. “This system draws on the best of our experience from multiple programs to create an effective and affordable solution to keep the Viper relevant throughout its service life.”

The system provides full-spectrum radar warning, threat identification and advanced countermeasure capabilities. It also has proven pulse-to-pulse operability with the F-16’s newly acquired AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR), also built by Northrop Grumman.

The electronic warfare suite leverages an open systems, ultra wideband architecture providing greater instantaneous bandwidth needed to defeat modern threats. This F-16 system is part of a mature product line of electronic warfare capabilities that can be adapted to protect virtually any platform or mission requirement. It shares a common technology baseline with the AC/MC-130J Radio Frequency Countermeasures Program and AN/APR-39 radar warning receivers.

The electronic warfare suite configuration is scalable to meet both U.S. and international partners’ operational needs in either an internal or podded configuration.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

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THOMAS NEWDICK - The Drive a écrit:

The First Contractor-Operated F-16 Aggressor Jets Are Heading To North America

Canada’s Top Aces will challenge U.S. fighter pilots using a fleet of ex-Israeli F-16 fighter jets based in Arizona.  



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The  first F-16 jet fighters to be flown by a private contractor offering red air adversary support are on their way to North America. It was confirmed today that a batch of the former Israeli Air Force jets was being transported from Israel to North America aboard a Ukrainian-registered An-124 cargo aircraft. Photos show at least three F-16s, with wings and tail surfaces removed, waiting to be loaded on the aircraft, with unconfirmed reports suggesting that four F-16s are being delivered. Once in North America, the fighters will join the Top Aces company, which will use them specifically to help fulfill the U.S. Air Force’s mammoth adversary air contract.

As of January last year, Top Aces was reportedly still in the process of taking delivery of up to 29 single-seat F-16As from what was then an unknown source, with Jordan being identified at the time as one of the possible candidates.

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An F-16A Netz while still in Israeli Air Force service, at Nevatim Air Base

Then, last November, it was reported that Top Aces had chosen former Israeli F-16A/B jets — known in Hebrew as Netz — under a deal with the Israeli Ministry of Defense said to be worth around $100 million. Exactly how many jets are involved is unclear, but the company received approval to acquire up to 29, and in November 2019 the Top Aces confirmed it was seeking to acquire 12, although this could just be the first batch. Furthermore, those dozen jets were described as Block 15s, which are not a variant acquired by Israel, although the block number may also refer to the approximate standard to which the Israeli jets were upgraded while in service.



Top Aces has long harbored an aspiration to acquire F-16s for red air use and, once they arrive in North America, the jets will be outfitted with open-architecture avionics making it possible to install different radar, sensors, electronic warfare pods, or other technologies as required. These modifications should ensure that the long-in-the-tooth F-16s are able to test pilots flying fifth-generation fighter jets like the F-22 and F-35. In regular use, the jets will be flown by the firm’s pilots comprising former Canadian, German, and U.S. military aviators, around 80 percent of whom are said to be graduates of the TOPGUN Fighter Weapons School.

On its website, Top Aces provides the following information about the new addition to its inventory, which will join the subsonic Alpha Jet and A-4 Skyhawk aircraft already in use:

"As part of its future fleet, Top Aces intends to introduce the F-16 which is considered by many to be the most agile fighter aircraft of its generation. Its superior speed, acceleration, maneuverability, small visual and radar signature, and ability to integrate advanced sensors and threat systems have made it the aircraft of choice for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy aggressor fleets since 1988"

The Netz aircraft were originally delivered to Israel in the early 1980s and saw considerable combat action, including scoring the first air-to-air victory for the F-16, a Syrian helicopter downed with its cannon on April 28, 1981. The jets also executed the daring long-range daytime bombing raid on Saddam Hussein’s Osiris nuclear reactor near Baghdad on June 7, 1981.

The last examples of the Netz in Israeli service were finally withdrawn in 2016, a total of 40 then being put up for sale. The Israeli Air Force fleet now comprises the more advanced F-16C/D Barak as well as the F-16I Sufa that is optimized for long-range strike missions.

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A retired F-16A Netz now preserved as an instructional airframe at Hatzerim Air Base.

The background to the significant expansion of the Top Aces aggressor fleet is the U.S. Air Force’s red air adversary support program, in which the Canadian contractor was one of seven different companies hired to help U.S. military combat jet pilots train at various bases across the United States. This massive multi-billion dollar contract announced in October 2019 is the culmination of a major effort within the service that has been years in the making to increasingly rely on contractors to provide these services in order to improve flexibility for training requirements and to save money.

The Air Combat Command contract is capped at no more than $6.4 billion, but it is unclear how much each company stands to make under their respective deals, which will cover work through 2024.

Last summer, details emerged of the first five bases to receive the contract aggressor support, covering Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico and Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, although Top Aces was not among the initial round of contract awardees.

In a tweet today, the Canadian company announced that its F-16s will be based at Mesa, Arizona, home to its F-16 Center of Excellence. Not only is this close to the company’s U.S. headquarters, but offers a useful central location, good weather, and access to local aerospace industry expertise.



“The F-16 really is our growth platform for the future, especially for advanced adversary training,” Paul Bouchard, president and chief executive officer of Top Aces told Skies magazine in a November 2019 interview. “It is the most prolific adversary aircraft in the western world. It is the adversary aircraft of choice just because of its performance characteristics. It is a fourth-generation aircraft, so from an aircraft architecture standpoint, it can be equipped and configured in so many different ways… And it is also scalable given there were more than 4,000 F-16s built. It is still a production aircraft. It has a lot of existing support in terms of sustainment.”

Although Top Aces is the first commercial red air enterprise to operate the F-16, the powerful and agile fighter has a proven track record in the role, serving with the U.S. Air Force and Navy, as well as fulfilling a similar role with Israel’s dedicated aggressor unit, 115 “Flying Dragon” Squadron, which you can see in action in the video below:  



While offering the potential to provide a potent red air capability, there remains a question about the overall state of these ex-Israeli airframes. It would be expected that Top Aces would select those airframes in the best condition, but the Netz fleet is still 40 years old and it saw considerable operational use. Providing the jets can be brought into service without too much difficulty, there is also the matter of what kinds of contracts these aircraft will fulfill. Regardless of their age, the F-16s are fourth-generation aircraft, the first of their kind to be offered by a red air contractor.

The U.S. Air Force, in particular, has long called for more capable adversary aircraft, and in greater numbers, to adequately represent peer and near-peer threats, which would seem to open up a niche for the privately operated F-16s. On the other hand, this will have to be weighed up against the cost of operating such a relatively sophisticated asset. In the past, it is notable that the F-16 lost out to the F-5 in a multi-million-dollar U.S. Navy red air contract award. You can read all about how that deal played out here, but it is with recalling what The War Zone’s Tyler Rogoway wrote at the time:

The reality is that the F-5 is nothing near to an F-16 when it comes to many aspects of air combat capability. But for beyond-visual-range applications, aside from a larger radar aperture, an F-5 equipped with a modern radar offers one hell of a bang for the buck without losing all that much in terms of what the enemy looks like to the fleet aviator training against it.

The F-5’s small size, both in terms of radar cross-section and especially its visual signature, also gives it something of an advantage over the F-16 for this specific mission set. But there is no doubt, the F-16 is a far superior platform that possesses a whole other level of kinematic performance over the F-5, especially in the within-visual-range fight. That being said, those facts just didn’t provide enough of an edge to make it worth paying over double the price for the same basic services.

Of course, Top Aces isn’t the only one to have made plans to acquire additional combat jets in preparation to meet the requirements of the U.S. Air Force contract.

Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) and Draken have both purchased second-hand fleets of French-made Mirage F1s, while the latter company bought an additional number of ex-South African Cheetahs, a Mirage III derivative. TacAir bought a group of former Royal Jordanian Air Force F-5E Tiger II jets, which it then upgraded into its F-5AT Advanced Tiger configuration. Finally, Air USA is in the process of acquiring up to 46 soon-to-be-retired F/A-18A/B Hornets from the Royal Australian Air Force.

While it has been a long time coming, Top Aces’ acquisition of as many as 29 F-16s puts it in a unique position within the contractor adversary community, although there are potentially more second-hand Vipers out there that could also find commercial buyers. As it is, Top Aces is set to be the first private aggressor force in North America to receive supersonic, fourth-generation fighters, and we will be sure to report on the next developments for the company’s new jets.

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