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Canada extends Top Aces’ Contracted Airborne Training Services (CATS) contract valued at $331M

In support of its defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) receive the training they need to do their work and keep Canadians safe.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, on behalf of the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, announced a contract amendment for the Contracted Airborne Training Services (CATS) program with Top Aces Inc., headquartered in Montréal, Quebec.

The CATS program provides realistic airborne combat readiness training to CAF pilots and aircrew. During these exercises, the aircraft pilot acts in an aggressor role, allowing CAF personnel to learn and practise defensive tactics to deter an attack. The contract amendment will provide additional combat support training services, including Advanced Aggressor Fighter training with new sophisticated capabilities.

In addition to amending the original contract to provide additional services, the Government of Canada is also exercising an option to extend the contract by 2 years, until 2029. The amendment to the original contract, awarded in 2017 through a competitive procurement process, is valued at an estimated $331 million (plus taxes). This brings the total value of the original contract to $749 million (plus taxes), contributing to the growth and competitiveness of Canada’s world-class aerospace and defence sectors.


“The Government of Canada remains committed to supporting members of the Canadian Armed Forces by ensuring they receive the training they need to do their jobs and keep Canadians safe. This program highlights a critical investment in Canada’s local economy and the importance of supporting Canada’s world-class aerospace industry.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Public Services and Procurement

“These airborne training services help to ensure that Canadian Armed Forces personnel are ready for their missions and prepared to protect Canada. These services allow our personnel to practice responding to attacks, detecting and tracking targets, and carrying out electronic warfare missions – bolstering their readiness. We will continue to work with Canada’s world-class aerospace industry to provide the Canadian Armed Forces with the training that they require.”

The Honourable Bill Blair
Minister of National Defence

“Through this contract with Top Aces Inc., a Canadian leader in air training services, our government will continue to provide Canadian Armed Forces pilots and aircrew with the training they need to be successful in an uncertain environment, while ensuring economic benefits for Canadians. We’re advancing Canadian innovation in our world-class defence and aerospace industries and creating high-value jobs across Canada.””

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Quick facts

• On October 30, 2017, following a competitive procurement process, the Government of Canada awarded a $418-million contract (plus taxes) for CATS to Discovery Air Defence Services Inc. (now Top Aces Inc.). The initial 10-year contract, with 2 option periods to extend, secures services until March 31, 2031. The Government of Canada is exercising the first of these 2 options.

• Top Aces Inc. is the prime contractor, headquartered in Montréal, Quebec. It provides combat support services to National Defence (including the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Navy). These types of training services, such as red air (for example, the contractor imitates being a threat with their aircraft), close air support (for example, the contractor imitates an airstrike to support ground troops), electronic warfare and several other mission profiles, are delivered using Top Aces Inc.-owned aircraft at various locations in Canada and the United States during live-fly training exercises.

• The majority of CATS will be provided from 4 main areas: Bagotville, Quebec; Cold Lake, Alberta; Victoria, British Columbia; and Halifax, Nova Scotia. They will also take place in other areas across Canada, as well as the United States.

• The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy, including Value Proposition, applies to this procurement, requiring Top Aces Inc. to make investments in the Canadian economy equal to the value of the contract.

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