Global provider of flight simulation services CAE is making key inroads into the Australian flight training market, and is set to boost its focus on becoming mission ready in the local region.
The firm’s Middle East and Asia-Pacific defence and security VP and GM Ian Bell sat down with Defence Connect’s Phillip Tarrant to discuss the company’s plans for its Australian business.
"We've got a great history in the flight training business, the provision of flight simulators and synthetic environments as a whole," Bell told Defence Connect. "But we're split really into two primary divisions; civil, where we train more air crew for commercial operations than anybody else in the world; and then our defence and security business is [of an] equal size."
Bell said CAE concentrated strongly on being integrated as a partner with its customers, saying, "the Commonwealth is a great example of that."
"We have over 13 defence and security sites here in Australia, but importantly we're here in long-term partnerships or we're looking to enhance mission readiness," he added.
In terms of the company’s current clutch of contracts in Australia, Bell said those ranged from the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules, the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport refuelling aircraft at Amberley and Army helicopter platforms, to the beach craft 350 plane at Sale, "where we've just celebrated the first 5,000 hours of training for the RAAF."
"So a complete sort of mix and we're very keen to expand into land training systems and into the naval environment," said Bell. "[The plan is to] really copy our success that we've had in the Middle East with the naval training centre in the United Arab Emirates, and sort of bring all that experience to bear here for the benefit of the ADF which are, in many respects, a thought leader and an example for this part of the world."