Top Aces flies F-16 Advanced Aggressor Fighter for the first time

Top Aces performed the first flight of its newly procured F-16 Advanced Aggressor Fighter (AAF) equipped with an Advanced Aggressor Mission System (AAMS) on January 19.

A leader in adversary training, the Canadian company procured F-16s in January 2021 and equipped the supersonic aircraft with the AAMS to enable Top Aces platform to replicate the most relevant and up to date capabilities of contemporary air-to-air combat opponents.

Top Aces F-16 AAF
Registration N854TA, former Israeli Air Force F-16 ready to go on the ramp at Phoenix- Mesa Gateway Airport, Arizona. Top Aces

Post completion of the successful test flight, the F-16 AAF will go on to execute further operational test activities in preparation for aiding USAF aerial combat training as the company plan to upgrade most of its F-16 fleet with the AAMS system within the next year.

This success is due to a four-year period of research and development work by Top Aces and partner Coherent Technical Services. During 2021, the AAMS was authorised for usage on TopAces A-4N Skyhawks and is currently serving the German Armed Forces and other European customers for advanced airborne training. Now the federated mission system has been installed on Top Ace's F-16A aircraft by M7 Aerospace of San Antonio, Texas, and Elbit Systems of America.

 A Top Aces F-16 AAF with its air brake deployed on approach back into Phoenix- Mesa Gateway Airport, Arizona after a succesful test flight with the AAMS on board. Top Aces

The AAMS permits the integration of sensors and functions which a customer of Top Aces would request to improve their air combat readiness. The system currently comprises Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) air-to-air radar; Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (HMCS); tactical datalink communications between aircraft and other entities, Infrared Search and Track (IRST) systems, high fidelity weapon simulation allowing replication of adversary tactics, advanced electronic attack pod employment and passive RF detection capabilities. This is all aided via an array of tactical functions coordinating the above systems to provide a spectrum of realistic adversary effects.

Russ Quinn, president, Top Aces, said: “When you combine the power and avionics of the F-16 with the AAMS, it provides the most realistic and cost-effective training solution available to pilots flying fifth-generation fighters, such as the F-22 or F-35.

“Due to the plug-and-play nature of our AAMS, it also allows for the addition of new and emerging sensors well into the future, which provides the flexibility to upgrade our F-16s and meet the needs of the Air Force for years to come,” added Quinn.