Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance has contracted Exail to supply a full flight simulator for the French Air Force’s E-3F Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft.
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The contract with Exail, formerly ECA Group, falls as part of the contract between the French Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) and Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) for a renovated cockpit of the aircraft.
The simulator will help train crews through the delivery of an identical replica of the newly redesigned cockpit.
The simulator is scheduled for certification in 2025.
The announcement is the latest instalment of the company’s 25 years of expertise in the flight simulator field.
“We’d like to thank the DGA and AFI KLM E&M for choosing our unique expertise and experience, developed over more than 25 years in the field of flight simulation,” Dominique Giannoni, chief executive officer of Exail, explained.
“Landing this contract guarantees sustained activity for the Exail teams in Lannion over the coming three years, and we’re proud to be supporting the French Air and Space Force with this new, cutting-edge simulator.”
According to Anne Brachet, executive vice-president of Air France KLM Engineering & Maintenance, the partnership will help the companies train France’s future aviators.
“The cockpit renovation is a strategic goal for our customer, and along with Exail we’re putting our expertise to work for the pilots of the French Air and Space Force, from training through to operations,” Brachet explained.
The contract for an updated simulator comes amid ongoing developments within the company’s autonomous vessel program.
In January, the company’s DriX unmanned surface vessel (USV) took part in the US Navy’s Digital Horizon Unmanned and Artificial Intelligence Exercise in Bahrain.
The three-week exercise, hosted by the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, was held to test new USV capabilities with an eye to creating the world’s first 100-strong drone fleet in the Gulf.
Exail explained that Vice Admiral Brad Cooper established Task Force 59 (TF59) last year, which has been engaged in expediting the integration of new capabilities into the fleet — in particular, unmanned technologies.
Exail’s DriX was one of 15 USVs to participate in the exercise, with the drone tasked with gathering data to detect threats and demonstrate effective communication capabilities.
The company explained that it had met requirements for communications redundancy, communications integration, imaging and sensing capabilities.
“We’re very happy about the feedback from the TF59 on DriX’s performance. We’d like to thank the US Navy Fifth Fleet for their support throughout the exercise, and in particular, Capt Michael Brasseur and his staff,” Guillaume Eudeline, Exail’s naval autonomy market director, said.
“For the first time, DriX integrated a multiple-unmanned collaborative military organisation, alongside some of the industry’s best. It was a real success and we are proud to have collaborated in this group effort, which showed what unmanned technologies can bring to MDA.”