Top Aces, international operates a fleet of privately owned tactical aircraft, is reportedly to buy F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets from Israel.
Multiple news outlets reported that the deal to buy 29 jets that have been in use by the Israeli Air Force had been approved by U.S. State Department and Israel’s government.
The Top Aces officials confirmed that the company looks to buy a batch of 4th generation fighter platforms and already received approval to acquire and import up to 29 F-16s from an undisclosed country.
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“The F-16 really is our growth platform for the future, especially for advanced adversary training,” said Paul Bouchard, president and chief executive officer. “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.”
According to Skies magazine, if the deal with Israel is confirmed, the F-16 jets would be added to Top Aces’ current fleets of Dornier Alpha Jets and Douglas A-4 Skyhawks, and initially based at the F-16 Center of Excellence near the company’s U.S. headquarters in Mesa, Ariz.
The private aviation company is helping train crews from the Air Force and provides fleet support air training services.
It’s also important to note that Israel had already tried to sell 12 F-16 Barak fighter jets to Croatia, but the deal was vetoed by Americans.
The deal ran into trouble after Washington said Israel needed to strip off upgrades that were added after Israel took delivery of the aircraft from the United States some 30 years ago.
The sophisticated electronics and radar systems were crucial in Croatia’s decision to buy the F-16s from Israel instead of from the US or Greece, which also bid for the contract.