Israel in talks to sell F-16 fighters to Canada's Top Aces

Israeli F16 Canada Top Aces
Israeli Air Force F-16 fighters.

The Israeli Defense Ministry is in talks to sell 29 decommissioned F-16A/B 'Netz' fighters to Canadian private contractor Top Aces. The deal is worth $ 100 million (approx. $ 3.5 million per aircraft) and is set to be the largest of its kind ever.

These aircraft were acquired by the Israeli Air Force in the late 1970s and the last of them was withdrawn from service in 2016.

They are extensively battle tested due to the several operations in which the Israeli Air Force has taken part. The best known at home is Operation "Opera" in which the Nezts destroyed a nuclear reactor in 1981 by flying "in open space" against SAM anti-aircraft batteries. Also in the same year, a Netz destroyed a Syrian Mil-Mi 8 helicopter as the first aircraft shot down by an F-16 in the world. 

Israel withdrew the A/B variant of the type following the introduction of the more modern C/D. Subsequently, the nation has put up for sale forty Netz fighters which are also targeted by Croatia.

Top Aces has already announced for some time the entry of the F-16 into its fleet. 

"As part of its future fleet, Top Aces intends to introduce the F16 which is considered by many to be the most agile fighter aircraft of its generation. Its superior speed, acceleration, maneuverability, small visual and radar signature, and ability to integrate advanced sensors and threat systems have made it the aircraft of choice for the USAF and USN Aggressor fleets since 1988," the company says.

If the deal is finalized, the former IAF F-16s will join Top Aces' Alpha Jet and Skyhawk aircraft to provide adversary air service to the company's customers. Top Aces has over 40 fighter pilots who come from the Canadian, German and American armed forces and 80% of them are Top Gun Fighter Weapons School graduates.

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Written by Matteo Sanzani
Photo Credit: Israeli Air Force