16 janvier 2019 | Local, Aérospatial

Top Aces Achieves Record-breaking 75,000 Hours of Air Combat Training

MONTREAL, Jan. 16, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - Top Aces Inc. announced today that it reached an unprecedented 75,000 hours of operational air combat training. The historic milestone was achieved in December during a deployment to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Top Aces Alpha Jet aircraft supported Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Exercise PUMA STRIKE, providing both Red Air and electronic attack training for Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Cold Lake 410 Fighter Squadron operational training unit and 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron. This exercise featured RCAF units including CF-18s and KC-130s, supported by RCAF Air Weapons Controllers.

Top Aces teams were also recently deployed to Holloman Air Force Base in support of RCAF 433 Tactical Fighter Squadron Exercise TIPIC STRIKE where they flew mutually beneficial training exercises with the USAF 8th, 311th and 314th Fighter Squadron F-16 Replacement Training Units (RTU) and worked with Canadian and American Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC). Top Aces aircraft participated in combined close air support operations with CF-18, Alpha Jet and MQ-9 Reaper aircraft that included inert weapon deliveries. Top Aces deploys annually to meet its clients' needs wherever they perform their exercises.

"Thanks to the trust of our clients and the dedication of our team, we have just established a world record in the number of hours flown by an adversary air provider," said Paul Bouchard, President and CEO and founder of Top Aces. "Reaching 75,000 hours is unparalleled in our industry worldwide. We are very proud of this milestone and of our industry-leading safety record and airworthiness standards. We are ready to deliver the next generation of highly-representative adversary air to all our customers worldwide."

To meet the needs of its customers, Top Aces intends to introduce the next generation of aggressor training using the supersonic F-16 Fighting Falcon equipped with advanced radar, electronic attack (EA) and on-board systems. Top Aces is committed to the continued delivery of the industry-leading standards of quality and performance demanded by the world's air forces.

About Top Aces

Top Aces provides advanced airborne training to the world's leading air forces. Founded in 2000 by a small group of highly accomplished former fighter pilots, Top Aces has the largest worldwide footprint of privately-held operational fighter aircraft that provide advanced adversary, air-defence and Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) training services around the globe. The mission-critical training offered by Top Aces enhances the operational readiness of combat forces by providing a realistic real-world experience while prolonging fleet life.

The company is changing the face of air combat training with its unparalleled safety record, outstanding team and an industry-leading 75 000 hours of operational training flown in support of its customers worldwide. Top Aces has the experience that matters. For Further Information please visit www.topaces.com.

SOURCE Top Aces Inc

For further information: Media contact: Rachel Andrews, Director of Marketing, rachel.andrews@topaces.com, +1 514-694-5565 ext. 2201, +1 514-451-5131

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/top-aces-achieves-record-breaking-75-000-hours-of-air-combat-training-808279562.html

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  • Budget officer says used Australian fighter jets will cost Canada over $1 billion — far more than DND claimed

    1 mars 2019 | Local, Aérospatial

    Budget officer says used Australian fighter jets will cost Canada over $1 billion — far more than DND claimed

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN The purchase of used Australian jets to boost Canada’s current fleet of fighter planes could cost taxpayers more than $1 billion, a figure 22-per-cent higher than the Department of National Defence is claiming, according to a new report from parliament’s financial watchdog. Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux examined the cost of buying and upgrading 18 used Australian F-18s and flying them to 2032. His report, released Wednesday, puts the final price tag at between $1.09 billion and $1.15 billion — considerably more than the $895.5 million estimate from DND. “We considered the entire life-cycle cost, from project management up until the very end of the disposal phase,” Giroux said in an interview with Postmedia. “We didn’t look at whether it was a good deal.” The PBO’s costing included weapons, upgrades needed for the aircraft, annual maintenance fees and the fuel that would be needed over the years of flying the aircraft. We didn’t look at whether it was a good deal The Royal Canadian Air Force is using the jets as interim fighters to boost the capability of the current fleet of CF-18s until the purchase of a new generation of aircraft. The RCAF will fly 18 of the Australian jets and use the other seven for parts and testing. The RCAF received its first two used Australian fighter jets at 4 Wing Cold Lake in Alta. on Feb. 16.  Deliveries of the jets will continue at regular intervals for the next three years, and the aircraft will be integrated into the CF-18 fleet as modifications are completed, according to the RCAF. The last aircraft are expected to arrive by the end of 2021 and fly until 2032. Giroux said his office used the same figures that DND had but did its own analysis of those cost estimates. “There’s no fundamental reason why we should come up with a different number,” he said. “My only sense is that they voluntary budgeted optimistic numbers. The reason why I don’t know for sure.” In a statement Wednesday, DND said its cost figures are close to those determined by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The statement also added that the PBO figures for upgrades of the interim fighter fleet include estimates for CF-18 combat upgrades which the department is still trying to determine. “While we are confident that our methodology is sound, we will continue to work with the PBO, the Auditor General of Canada, and other outside entities as part of our commitment to responsible use of taxpayer dollars,” the statement noted. The Liberal government had planned to buy 18 new Super Hornet fighter jets from U.S. aerospace giant Boeing to augment the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18s until new modern aircraft could be purchased in the coming years. But in 2017 Boeing complained to the U.S. Commerce Department that Canadian subsidies for Quebec-based Bombardier allowed it to sell its C-series civilian passenger aircraft in the U.S. at cut-rate prices. As a result, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump enacted a tariff of almost 300 per cent against the Bombardier aircraft sold in the U.S. In retaliation, Canada cancelled the deal to buy the 18 Super Hornets, which would have cost more than US $5 billion. Instead of buying the new Super Hornets, the Liberals decided to acquire the used Australian jets. In November 2018 the Auditor General’s office issued a report noting that the purchase of the extra aircraft would not fix the fundamental weaknesses with the CF-18 fleet which is the aircraft’s declining combat capability and a shortage of pilots and maintenance personnel. “The Australian F/A-18s will need modifications and upgrades to allow them to fly until 2032,” the report said. “These modifications will bring the F/A-18s to the same level as the CF-18s but will not improve the CF-18’s combat capability.” “In our opinion, purchasing interim aircraft does not bring National Defence closer to consistently meeting the new operational requirement introduced in 2016,” the report added. The Canadian Forces says it is bringing in new initiatives to boost the numbers of pilots and maintenance staff. https://montrealgazette.com/news/canada/budget-officer-says-used-australian-fighter-jets-will-cost-canada-over-1-billion-far-more-than-dnd-claimed/

  • Canadian air chief looks to speed up up fighter buy

    11 novembre 2017 | Local, Aérospatial

    Canadian air chief looks to speed up up fighter buy

    DUBAI — Canada will kick start its competition for a future fighter jet in 2019 with the hopes of awarding a contract by 2021, but the head of the Royal Canadian Air Force wants the process to move as quickly as possible. “The plan right now is to have a request for proposal out to industry by 2019. we’re in discussions and have been in discussions with a number of the people who are considering competing for that, and what I’d like to see is that accelerated as much as possible,” said RCAF commander Lt. Gen. Michael Hood, in an exclusive interview with Defense News. “A 2019 RFP would get us into contract probably by 2021, and certainly my advice to government is the sooner the better.” The RCAF wants to procure 88 fighter jets to replace its current inventory of aging 76 F/A-18 Hornets, which are nearing the end of their lifespans. Canada is an international participant in the F-35 joint strike fighter program and has helped pay for the development of the aircraft. But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed not to procure the F-35 during his campaign, and his government has opened up the competition to industry instead of moving forward with a sole-source acquisition. The Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, Boeing Super Hornet and Saab’s Gripen E are all projected to compete for the opportunity. To bridge the gap between its Hornet fleet and a future fighter, the RCAF initially intended to procure 18 F/A-18 Super Hornets from Boeing — a move some analysts speculated could trigger a larger procurement later on. However, the Canadian government suspended the deal due to Boeing’s legal complaint against Canadian aerospace company Bombardier over its commercial business. With a Super Hornet buy unlikely as long as Boeing and Bombardier feud, and Trudeau’s promise not to buy the F-35, U.S. defense experts worry that Canada could be driven into the arms of a European fighter manufacturer, thus eroding Canada’s long tradition of flying U.S. jets — a move that increases the militaries’ interoperability. However, Hood stated that interoperability with the United States continues to be “the most important thing to me as command of the Royal Canadian Air Force.” “Every step less of interoperability is one step less of effectiveness, so interoperability is right at the top of the list beside operational advantage,” he said. “I want the young men and women that are going to be flying fighters into harm’s way to have an operational advantage, and that will be key to me in the competition that’s coming.” That need for interoperability with the U.S. Air Force does not diminish the chances of European fighters, he added. Canada continues to investigate alternative ways to acquire an interim fleet of F/A-18s, including potentially buying used Hornets from Australia. However, a potential deal for Super Hornets with Boeing is still on the table, Hood said. “I think the government has been presented with the FMS case for Boeing. And as they’re looking at options, that’s one option,” he said. “The Australian aircraft are another, and the government has not made a decision yet.” If the RCAF moves forward with a used Hornet buy from Australia, it will have to extend the lives of the airframes, which are meeting their structural ends, Hood noted. That business would likely go to L3 Technologies, which has done life extension work on the Canadian F/A-18s in the past. But Canada would still be able to acquire the aircraft “within the next couple of years” once a decision is made. Lockheed officials have said that if Canada ultimately decided not to procure the F-35, it could end its industrial partnership with Canadian firms — which totals 110 Canadian companies with $750 million in contracts, according to Lockheed — that already help manufacture the F-35. However, asked whether Canada was concerned about losing that business, Hood demurred. “I’m not privy to the industrial aspects of our partnership with Lockheed Martin,” he said. “What I can say is Lockheed Martin is a fantastic partner for Canada and for the Royal Canadian Air Force, has been for years. We remain very, very strongly engaged both in the joint project office and helping to continue with the development of the F-35, and Canadian companies continue to bid and win on contracts with that.” https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/dubai-air-show/2017/11/11/canadian-air-chief-the-sooner-the-better-on-fighter-acquisition/

  • Canada Wants Armed Drones in the Air by 2025

    14 août 2020 | Local, Aérospatial

    Canada Wants Armed Drones in the Air by 2025

    Ottawa is on the lookout for unmanned aircraft that can conduct long-range surveillance and precision air strikes. The program is expected to cost from $1 billion to $5 billion.   By Justin Ling The Canadian government is finally forging ahead with plans to set up its own fleet of armed drones, joining several of its NATO allies. Ottawa is looking for an unmanned aircraft that can reach anywhere in its massive territory, keep an eye on its territorial waters, and, when necessary, acquire targets and fire missiles. It looks increasingly likely that Canada will be buying something resembling the MQ-9 Reaper, a preferred plane for the U.S. armed drone program. In a briefing for industry players, a representative from the procurement arm of the Canadian government laid out Canada’s desire for its long-range, medium-altitude drone. The total cost for the program could range from $1 billion to $5 billion. Part of what makes a drone system more attractive than a conventional aircraft is that it can loiter over a target area for upwards of six hours, meaning it can track individuals for long distances and periods of time. A spokesperson for the Department of National Defence confirmed that “domestically, the RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft system) will be routinely used for surveillance and reconnaissance of Canadian Maritime approaches and the Arctic.” That sort of capability will be useful as the Northwest Passage becomes more easily navigable, and foreign ships begin moving through the Arctic seaway. As VICE News reported in 2017, the Canadian Air Force posited that its drones could aid in search-and-rescue operations in the Arctic; intercept drug shipments in the Carribean; bomb targets in Afghanistan; and surveil public protests in Toronto. The government spokesperson stressed that “while RPAS will not need to routinely carry weapons during operations in Canadian airspace, situations may arise that would require such capabilities.” As with any fighter jets flying in Canadian airspace, they stressed, they would be bound by Canadian law and the military chain of command. Abroad, the drones would operate under the same law of armed conflict that governs conventional aircraft. In 2015, not long after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected, Ottawa signalled interest in purchasing armed drones, which can be brought online much faster than the current generation of fighter jets—they require much less pilot training, for example.  Upon taking office, Trudeau promised to reboot a procurement process to replace its aging CF-18 fighters—a process that is still moving sluggishly, as his government initially followed through on a promise to scrap plans to purchase the U.S.-made F-35, only to turn back around and allow it to vie for the contract all over again.  As an interim measure, the Canadian military has had to buy a package of refurbished CF-18s to keep up its coastal surveillance and its obligations under NORAD, and to ensure it is able to participate in foreign operations if asked. The current drone plan, which would see the first aircraft arriving by 2024 and operational the following year, would go a long way to filling a potential and much-feared operational gap. Last year, the government announced two possible suppliers for the platforms: Quebec-based L3 Technologies and a partnership between the U.S. government and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. L3 Technologies is working with Israel Aerospace Industries to pitch a modified version of its Heron drone, which has become a favourite of the Israeli Defence Forces (Canada has actually leased these systems from Israel). General Atomics is proposing Canada buy the MQ-9B SkyGuardian—a successor to the MQ-9 Reaper and the MQ-1 Predator, which became synonymous with the Obama administration’s overseas drone operations. Somewhat confusingly, L3 Technologies is also producing parts of the SkyGuardian platform. It’s still possible that Canada could go with a third supplier. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/v7gqvm/canada-wants-armed-drones-in-the-air-by-2025?

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