After 70 years as a Canadian success story, CAE is ubiquitous in the Canadian defence and security scene, providing training solutions, services, and operational services. Jeff Loube took in their pre-CANSEC presser.

“We’re getting pretty big now” was how Joe Armstrong began the CAE Canada media briefing in Ottawa on the eve of CANSEC, Canada’s annual defence and security show. Armstrong is vice president of Business Operations, CAE Defence & Security and vice president and general manager, CAE Canada. He cited the recent conclusion of CAE’s acquisition of Bombardier's business aircraft training business, adding that investors agreed: the recent strength of the stock, trading in the C$34 range, up from the 52-week low of C$22. In FY19, CAE posted record revenue of C$3.3B, and a record backlog of C$9.5B.

CAE is a global company with 10,000 employees at 160+ sites and training locations in 40 countries. Corporate HQ is in Montréal; CAE Canada is headquartered in Ottawa. This briefing focused on Canadian operations.

CAE’s training systems integration strategy going forward is to find the sweet spot of live, virtual and constructive (LVC) technologies for each case to provide an “optimal integrated training solution”.

Armstrong noted with some pride that CAE is involved in “almost 80% of RCAF training systems”. As the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) training systems integrator, CAE operates the base facilities, delivers the ground-school classroom and simulator training, and supports the live-flying training on a fleet of Beechcraft T6 (CT156 Harvard) trainer aircraft and BAE Systems Hawk (CT155) lead-in fighter trainer aircraft. This multi-year contract runs through 2023 with a possible one-year extension. To respond to current government intentions to consolidate pilot training in the Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) programme, CAE joined KF Aerospace, manager of the Contracted Flying Training and Support (CFTS) programme, to form a 50/50 joint venture – SkyAlyne – in 2018. SkyAlyne is one of five qualified bidders. Armstrong emphasized his view of the need to “keep training Canadian”.

For a detailed look at the NFTC and CFTS programmes, read “Doing the RCAF’s Bidding” from MS&T Issue 1-2019. In regard to the Future Fighter Capability Project, CAE is seeking the role of training systems integrator. Armstrong is “keen to see what the next steps are in the programme,” stressing that “we are not exclusive to any partner”.

And CAE involvement with maritime training systems is increasing. The company has been awarded a subcontract from Lockheed Martin Canada to begin work during the design phase of the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) ship programme. Over the next several years, CAE will support combat systems training needs analysis and training media analysis that will contribute to the overall CSC training system design. In addition, CAE will provide human factors engineering and professional services to input to the design of critical spaces aboard the ship as well as support the establishment of an integrated data environment.

CAE is more than a training systems company. For more than 40 years, CAE has manufactured and supported magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) systems for maritime patrol aircraft. Now the company has announced the sale of the first unit of the evolutionary MAD-XR and the start of production. CAE MAD-XR is an order of magnitude smaller, at about 6-7 kg, than previous MAD systems. MAD-XR is a highly sensitive magnetometer designed to sense changes in the earth’s magnetic field. The light and compact size allows the CAE MAD-XR to be installed on helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and smaller fixed-wing aircraft, and perhaps other innovative uses that only anti-submarine warfare specialists can imagine.

Armstrong also introduced two important social initiatives in the aviation and defence sectors.

The CAE Women in Flight Scholarship programme, in partnership with American Airlines, Aeromexico, AirAsia, CityJet and easyJet, will be offering five full-tuition scholarships plus their first job to women who aspire to be professional pilots.

The partnership of L3 Technologies Canada, CAE Canada and Thales Canada have initiated the Canadian Industrial Leadership Award (CILA). Women enrolled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programmes at universities across Canada will be eligible to apply for this award, which will provide financial aid, mentorship and employment opportunities. Leaders from the three companies announced the programme at CANSEC with Navdeep Bains, Canadian minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. 

Originally published in Issue 3, 2019 of MS&T Magazine.