The new CAE Multi-Purpose Training Center in Brunei is close to going fully operational, following the European Aviation Safety Agency’s level-D certification of its CAE 3000 Series full-flight simulator for the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter last month. The facility is the result of CAE’s efforts to deliver an integrated array of training solutions in a more cost-effective manner.
The center, located in Rimba, is a joint venture between CAE (Hall 4 Stand C17-C19; Chalet B30) and the Brunei government and is already providing training for S-92 helicopters operated in support of Brunei Shell Petroleum’s oil and gas exploration and production. It will also be offering safety and mission readiness training for the S-70i Black Hawk military helicopter and Pilatus PC-7 trainer.
CAE is also helping the Brunei authorities to set up a center of excellence for emergency and crisis management to support disaster readiness throughout Southeast Asia. This facility is networked to the simulators so they can be used to prepare for missions such as search and rescue.
Tactical Flight Trainers
During June, three of CAE’s new tactical operational flight trainers (TOFTs) for the U.S. Navy’s Sikorsky MH-60R helicopters entered service with the U.S. Navy at the Naval Air Stations in Jacksonville and Mayport, and at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The units are fixed-based simulators used to train pilots, co-pilots and sensor operators in the complete range of MH-60R missions.
CAE also recently delivered another TOFT unit to the Naval Air Station in Atsugi, Japan. This simulator can be reconfigured as a training platform for either the MH-60R or -60S helicopters. The new equipment will be ready for use later this summer.
According to CAE Defense and Security president Gene Colabatistto, continuing reductions in military spending have spurred demand for using simulation- and modeling-based training to keep aircrews ready for their missions. “This is a special time,” he told AIN. “It isn’t just the usual budget [reduction] drill because the [training] requirements and contingencies keep increasing. For large defense organizations in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Canada and elsewhere, modeling and simulation is a way out of the predicament. It’s a bright spot in an otherwise dark defense environment but it has attracted a lot of competition.”
Colabatistto said that while the cost of operating a tactical military aircraft for training purposes could be around $20,000 per hour, an equivalent hour in a simulator costs just $2,000. “And if there is a long-term commitment to using more simulator-based training, it reduces the need for larger fleets as about 20 percent of some fleets are dedicated to training missions. So there’s a double benefit here,” he added. “They can role-play multiple scenarios in a short amount of time.”
Training for Complexity
In Colabatistto’s view, the MH-60R simulators are a prime example of meeting demand to train for complex missions more efficiently. “It’s not just about training pilots to fly or to check their currency and proficiency,” he said. “It’s about training for different missions, such as antisubmarine warfare where the helicopter has to work as part of a larger system [including fixed-wing aircraft and warships].” Similarly, CAE’s simulator for the P-8 aircraft provides training not only for cockpit crews but also for crews operating other equipment onboard.
CAE is now focusing on new defense sector opportunities such as providing training infrastructure to support the needs of forces due to start operating Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter. While the manufacturer provides the baseline training package, Colabatistto does see prospects for responding to partner nations’ needs for tailored training solutions.
Also on the company’s radar screen are new training requirements for Embraer’s new KC-390 military transport and new lead-in fighter trainers such as the Alenia MB339 and the BAE Systems Hawk. In the field of unmanned aerial systems, CAE is allied with General Atomics in developing training infrastructure for the Predator family.
Rotorsim Training Activity Rises
On June 25, CAE’s Rotorsim joint venture with AgustaWestland announced that it has conducted more than 100,000 hours of simulator training. The facility, which opened in June 2006 at Sesto Calende in northern Italy, provides training for the AW109 Power, AW139 and AW189 helicopters. Next year, CAE will add a full-flight simulator for the new AW169 aircraft.