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CAE to offer simulator training to support Aussie RPAS

CAE is leveraging its successful next-generation simulator training for international Reaper-based RPAS fleets to position itself as the preferred training partner ahead of Australia’s planned AIR 7003 acquisition.

CAE Australia has established itself as a partner with Team Reaper Australia (TRA) focused on leveraging the successes the company has developed across the training and simulator services for Reaper-based RPAS fleets in Italy, the UK, UAE and the US.

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This positioning within Team Reaper Australia prepares CAE Australia to provide a range of services following the Commonwealth’s decision regarding the approach and requirements for training support for Australia’s fleet of RPAS systems. These services could include: 

  • training needs analysis services 
  • simulators and training devices (i.e. desktop trainers, high-fidelity mission trainers)
  • training services (i.e. academic, simulator and live-flying instruction as well as maintenance and support services on training devices)
  • course ware and curriculum development
  • training centre operations

CAE has positioned itself as the preferred training and simulation partner of original equipment manufacturer GA-ASI since 2013, following the announcement of a global memorandum of understanding to support training and simulation for the GA-ASI Predator/Reaper family of RPAS. 

“Our extensive experience collaborating with General Atomics on the development and delivery of training solutions for GA-ASI’s family of remotely piloted air systems will enable us to deliver a mature and proven training system to help the Australian Defence Force create the well-trained cadre of pilots and sensor operators needed for mission operations,” said Ian Bell, CAE’s vice president and general manager, Asia Pacific/Middle East.

The training collaboration with GA-ASI has paved the way for CAE to provide simulation products and training services for customers including the Italian Air Force and the United Arab Emirates Air Force. The Italian Air Force program provided a highly specialised simulator enabling the Italian Air Force to train with “zero flight time”, meaning aircrew can be entirely qualified to operate the MQ-9 Reaper without necessarily training on the actual aircraft. 

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The specialised Italian Air Force Predator Mission Trainer is believed to be the world’s first Level D simulator for an RPAS. Level D is the highest qualification for slight simulators, with the simulator recently accepted into service at Amendola Air Base in Italy. 

Building on this, CAE’s partnership with the UAE has seen the company establish and maintain the specialised training academy for the UAE Air Force for its fleet of RQ-1E Predator aircrews, including all the required academic, simulator and live-flying training that is required to train the UAE Air Force aircrews. 

“Our experience on GA-ASI’s platforms will prove valuable in designing the overall training program for the Royal Australian Air Force, but so too will our experience providing a range of simulation-based training systems already in service for the ADF,” continued Bell.  “CAE is a leading supplier of simulation systems to the ADF on platforms such as the KC-30A, C-130J, MH-60R and MRH90, among others, so we will be able to deliver commonality and interoperability to support distributed and networked mission training capabilities.”

The relationship established between CAE and GA-ASI has recently expanded to include CAE’s selection by GA-ASI to develop the synthetic training system for the Royal Air Force’s fleet of Protectors (MQ-9B SkyGuardian). This marks a major milestone for the Protector fleet, which will see the system certified as the first RPAS certified to fly in civilian airspace. 

The Protector will be operated by the RAF and is the UK-specific variant of GA-ASI’s certifiable MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPAS, which is being built to meet the most stringent certification requirements of aviation authorities. Under terms of the contract, CAE will design and develop a comprehensive synthetic training system that will include desktop and high-fidelity mission trainers specific to the Protector RPAS.   

CAE’s high-fidelity Protector mission trainers will be based on GA-ASI’s certifiable Ground Control Station (CGCS) and will be the first simulators developed for this advanced CGCS. CAE will also provide brief/debrief and scenario generation stations as part of the overall synthetic training system.

“Protector will offer a new level of capability in an unmanned air system and will require a cadre of professional, well-trained aircrews to operate,” said Bell. “The synthetic training system will be an integral part of the overall training program and we are pleased to again collaborate with GA-ASI on its development.”

The company’s experience across the globe providing the ground station, simulator and training support for remotely piloted aircraft aircrews positions the company to provide Australia’s yet-to-be-selected RPAS fleet with high-fidelity, reliable and globally recognised, standardised and interoperable training. 

The TRA team consists of 10 Australian companies providing a range of innovative sensor, communication, manufacturing and life cycle support capabilities that includes Cobham, CAE, Raytheon, Flight Data Systems, TAE Aerospace, Quickstep, AirSpeed, Rockwell Collins Australia, Ultra and SentientVision.

Project AIR 7003 will provide the Australian Defence Force with an armed medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) RPAS that will include aircraft and ground control stations that will be fully interoperable with Australia’s allies.

CAE’s defence and security business unit focuses on helping customers develop and maintain the highest levels of mission readiness. It is a training systems integrator offering a comprehensive portfolio of training centres, training services and simulation products across the air, land, sea and public safety market segments.

GA-ASI, an affiliate of privately held General Atomics, manufactures RPAS, radars and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions.

CAE to offer simulator training to support Aussie RPAS
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