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V0 b2 Local company buys Israeli F-16s - The Times Hub

Local company buys Israeli F-16s

Local company buys Israeli F-16s

A Quebec company supported by the Caisse de dépôt has just purchased four Israeli F-16 fighter jets and will use them to train American pilots.

Local company buys Israeli F-16s

Courtesy photo

Didier Toussaint. Chief Operating Officer

Didier Toussaint, COO of Top Aces, a Dorval firm, admits to having felt a lot of emotions when he saw the devices board a huge Antonov An-124 plane in Israel, en route to Mesa, Arizona .

“It’s really special”, he confides in Newspaper.

Top Aces will become the first private company in the world to integrate the iconic F-16 Fighting Falcon into its fleet.

To achieve this feat, its leaders had to patiently comply with the demands of the US State Department.

“Transferring an airplane like that to a civilian company is not something they take lightly,” explains Toussaint. So we worked with them for several years to get there. It really is a sign of confidence in Top Aces. “

Local company buys Israeli F-16s

Photo from Twitter, Ministry of Defense

Four F-16 Fighting Falcon supersonic jets left Israel this week for Arizona, where Quebec-based Top Aces has its US headquarters. The devices were taken on board a huge Antonov An-124 aircraft

Big investment

Over the next few months, the company will receive 25 more F-16s and 14 A-4 Skyhawks from the Israeli Defense Ministry.

According to specialized media, the total bill for Top Aces exceeds US $ 100 million. This summer, the company got its hands on 25 Belgian Alpha Jets.

“The planes must be demilitarized. We can no longer use them to go to war, ”emphasizes Didier Toussaint.

Top Aces could not have been so ambitious without the support of the Caisse, which invested more than $ 50 million in 2019 alongside the American bank JPMorgan Chase and the Toronto firm Clairvest.

Local company buys Israeli F-16s

Photo from Twitter, Ministry of Defense

“The Caisse’s investment was mainly targeted for the acquisition of F-16s and the growth of Top Aces,” explains Mr. Toussaint.

The Fund ensures that its investment in Top Aces respects its ethical rules. In the military, the only sectors that the institution immediately excludes are those of cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines.

In 2019, Top Aces was the only foreign company to qualify for a US $ 6.4 billion Pentagon framework contract for fighter pilot training.

“It is a great honor to have been chosen by the US Air Force,” said Mr. Toussaint.

“We play the bad guys! “

Top Aces will provide the United States Air Force with experienced aircraft and pilots to act as adversaries in training sessions.

In some exercises, around thirty Top Aces and other private firms pretend to fight US Air Force planes piloted by young soldiers.

“We play the bad guys! »Says Mr. Toussaint, himself a former CF-18 pilot.

After leaving the Canadian Forces, he co-founded Top Aces in 2000.

Since 2005, the company has been training Canadian fighter pilots, notably at the Bagotville base in Saguenay.

In 2017, she landed a 14-year contract that could be worth up to $ 1.4 billion.

“Canada was a pioneer country which was one of the first to outsource” the training of fighter pilots, notes Didier Toussaint.

Prior to the United States, Top Aces had landed contracts in Australia and Germany. Several other countries are in its sights.

“I would never have believed that we would go this far,” Mr. Toussaint is surprised.

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