Israel’s foremost defense page Israel Defense reported that the Israeli Ministry of Defense on Tuesday sent four more F-16 Falcons to the U.S. for the training of the U.S. Air Force. The shipment of four planes was loaded onto an Antonov cargo plane, which had landed at Ben Gurion Airport, by members of the unit in charge of international transportation at the Israeli Ministry’s Department of Production and Procurement. The Israeli Defense Ministry’s Export Agency (SIBAT) signed an agreement for the sale of 29 surplus F-16 Falcons to the Top Aces company, which will supply “red air” adversary services for the training of the U.S. Air Force.
The Israel Defense Force/Air Force ordered a total of 362 F-16s, from early F-16A/Bs to the latest F-16I. The Israeli F-16 fighters are battle proven and many of them took part in the First Lebanon War in 1982 in air battles against the Syrian Air Force, when they successfully downed 82 Russian-built MiG 21 and MiG 23 Soviet-built aircraft. Even before the war they downed two Sysrian helicopters in Lebanon’s Beka’a Valley, the first-ever aircraft downed anywhere in the world by an F-16. It was also the F-16 that flew the 1981 mission to Iraq and successfully destroyed Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear reactor, in one of the IAF’s longest-range missions.
The use of a private company to facilitate the transaction also cheapens the deal, since employing used planes and private pilots is cheaper than using new combat planes and operational pilots.Under the U.S. Air Force IDIQ contract, Top Aces will begin providing its unmatched adversary training for the USAF, U.S. Navy and DoD in 2021. The upgraded fleet of F-16s are able to employ an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, helmet-mounted cueing system, tactical datalink and high off boresight missile capability to provide unparalleled adversary air training. The deal is valued at $100 million, 29 surplus F-16 fighter jets to Top Aces Corp for $3-4 million each.
Top Aces provides the Canadian Air Force, the U.S. Air Force, and the Australian Air Force aircraft that simulate enemy combat threats, also known as the “Red Force”: its aircraft and pilots imitate enemy aircraft and practice interception drills against “Blue Force,” or the military. The company has already announced that it will soon be adding F-16s to its fleet that now includes Skyhawk and Alpha jet aircraft. The use of a private company to facilitate the transaction also cheapens the deal, since employing used planes and private pilots is cheaper than using new combat planes and operational pilots.