The US Army has awarded a contract for a new training system and has had its first entry fixed-wing class graduate from flight training.
Defence and security company Saab, in co-operation with Lockheed Martin, has been awarded a MSEK 100 ($15.6 million) contract for a training system, with deliveries taking place between 2017 and 2018. The order is booked as order intake for the second quarter of 2017.
The US Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI), has ordered a tactical fire and target system (vehicle tactical engagement simulation system – VTESS) for combat vehicles from Lockheed Martin in Orlando, USA in co-operation with Saab Training and Simulation in Orlando and Huskvarna, Sweden. The system enables soldiers to conduct live, highly realistic combat exercises using their existing platforms and weapons systems.
VTESS will include training solutions for trucks and smaller vehicles and laser transmitters for both small arms and main guns for armored vehicles.
Saab's part of the contract includes laser simulators, detectors and electronics to the VTESS system that is developed by Saab engineers.
Åsa Thegström, head of business unit Training and Simulation said the contract's joint approach will provide the US Army with the best training capability.
"This contract is a result of the combination of skillsets and capabilities from both Lockheed Martin and Saab. Saab has long experience of deliveries to the US Army in its own right and we see this new joint approach as a natural evolution of that good relationship. Together with Lockheed Martin we will deliver a training system that provides the Army with the best training capability for future needs," said Thegström.
Sandy Samuel, vice president, training and simulation solutions, Lockheed Martin, said VTESS is providing a unique solution and is changing how the Army will take part in training exercises.
"Through VTESS, we are changing the way vehicle crews take part in training exercises with a system that is both robust and simple to use. We are providing an open architecture solution that will enable the US Army to expand how they train soldiers and allow them flexibility in integrating third party components, both now and the future," Samuel said.
Meanwhile, the first class of six US Army students to go through the new initial entry fixed-wing (IEFW) course at CAE's Dothan Training Center have graduated and are now fixed-wing Army aviators.
The graduation ceremony, which included both rotary-wing and fixed-wing students, took place recently at Fort Rucker, home of the US Army Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE).
The six students were part of the first class ever for the IEFW training track course created by CAE and the US Army. The new IEFW training program has been implemented so that entry-level Army students can begin their career track to fixed-wing aircraft much sooner. The course spans about four months and includes academic, simulator and aircraft training, including upset recovery training.
"All of us at CAE would like to congratulate the first graduating class from the new initial entry fixed-wing course," said Ray Duquette, president and general manager of CAE USA.
"We are honored to be partnering with the Army to provide a modern, flexible and cost-effective training program specifically designed to produce the next-generation fixed-wing aviators."
CAE is the prime contractor responsible for the Army fixed-wing flight training program that provides the training required to fly the Army's fleet of more than 350 fixed-wing aircraft. Training is delivered at the CAE Dothan Training Center, which officially opened in March 2017.