Top Aces’ A-4 Advanced Aggressor Fighter (AAF) Photo By: Éric Desbiens
Top Aces Announces Important Upgrade to Contracted Airborne Training Services (CATS) Program in Canada Through 2029
News, December 05, 2023

Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) pilots will benefit from an enhanced level of adversary air training

MONTREAL, QC, December 5, 2023 – Top Aces, the world’s leading provider of advanced adversary air (ADAIR) and joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) training to allied forces, today announced the extension and amendment of its pre-existing CATS agreement with Canada through October 2029. Operating a fleet of upgraded Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets and Bombardier Learjet 35s, Top Aces has been a trusted training partner of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) since 2005.

With this contract extension/amendment, Top Aces’ A-4 Skyhawk ‘Advanced Aggressor Fighter’ (AAF) will join the company’s Canadian fleet early next year. Deployment of this aircraft will add advanced radar and tactical datalink to the CATS offering. The AAF configuration better replicates current adversary fighter aircraft and will enhance the training of RCAF CF-18 pilots, particularly as phase II of the CF-18 Hornet extension project (HEP) is underway.

Furthermore, the addition of the A-4 AAF to Top Aces’ training fleet will allow the RCAF to reduce the use of CF-18s in adversary roles and help mitigate the anticipated human resources challenges associated with the transition to the F-35.

Two Top Aces’ A-4 AAFs will begin training with the RCAF next spring, expanding to four aircraft by 2025. These aircraft will be equipped with Top Aces’ proprietary open architecture ‘Advanced Aggressor Mission System’ (AAMS), which enables the integration of advanced capabilities, including tactical datalink, Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and numerous other potential upgrades.

“Top Aces continues to modernize and enhance our services to meet the evolving needs of the RCAF,” says Paul Bouchard, Founder and CEO, Top Aces. “The addition of AAMS is very significant because it integrates sensors and functions that replicate advanced adversary fighter aircraft. This latest enhancement will be particularly beneficial to the RCAF as it transitions to the HEP2 CF-18 and subsequently the F-35.”

“Canada’s visionary approach to CATS has been adopted by air forces worldwide, including the U.S. Air Force and other allies in Europe. Today, Top Aces is very proud to extend its long-standing partnership with Canada. We will deliver advanced training services that enhance combat readiness and offer numerous cost-efficiencies in support of CAF operations,” adds Bouchard.


About Top Aces

Top Aces provides advanced ADAIR and JTAC training to the world’s leading air forces. It has the largest fleet of commercially operated fighter aircraft in active service and is the first company in the world to acquire the supersonic F-16. Top Aces’ mission-critical training enhances the operational readiness of combat forces by providing real-world experience, while creating significant cost efficiencies and extending the lifecycle of military fleets. For more information, please visit


Media Contact:

Erin Black
Communications Manager, Top Aces
+1 (514) 867-0886