MS&T correspondent Walter Ullrich tests some of CAE’s new technologies.

MS&T correspondent Walter Ullrich tests some of CAE's new technologies. Image credit: CAE

It's almost a tradition: on the weekend before the ITEC conference, CAE Defence & Security invites specialist journalists to inform about the state of affairs at the company, far from the hustle and bustle of the trade fair. This year, the group met in Stolberg, CAE’s main base in Germany.

Marc-Olivier Sabourin, CAE’s Vice President and General Manager, Europe/Africa, referred to the successful fiscal year 2018, which saw CAE further increasing its performance with revenues of 2.8 billion Canadian dollars (CAD).

The future is bright as well. CAE's current Airline Pilot Demand Outlook identifies a global requirement for 300,000 new pilots over the next 10 years to sustain and grow the commercial air transport. In addition, many militaries are facing challenges to man the new generation of aircraft. All this will lead to an increasing demand for simulation-based training services and products, something that CAE can do very well in both the civil and the military domains.

Niels Kröning, General Manager, CAE Elektronik Deutschland, who has been in this newly created position since November 2018, presented CAE’s German subsidiary. CAE Elektronik Deutschland was founded in 1961 to support the Starfighter flight simulators operated by the European NATO member states. As such, the Canadian company is one of the longest operating overseas flight simulation system providers in Germany. CAE Stolberg as well is visibly in the upwind. The premises are being renovated and expanded; the 500-person company urgently needs to hire more qualified personnel.

CAE Stolberg is the training partner of the Bundeswehr, and a member of the consortia for the development of training devices. The company is involved in five major projects:

  • Flight & Tactical Simulators (Eurofighter, Tornado)
  • Helicopter Simulators (NH90, CH-53, SeaKing)
  • System & Procedure Trainer (AWACS)
  • SIRA/SiTA Command & Staff Training
  • Healthcare/CAESAR First Responder Training

New workload is looming, CAE considers all conditions met that the German government will choose the Boeing H-47 Chinook helicopter as its future heavy-duty helicopter. In that case, CAE would be responsible for the development and support of a range of training systems and services under a teaming agreement with Boeing.

The extended service life of the Tornado aircraft has already been confirmed – until 2030 or even 2035. Considering the general trend that simulator solutions are the preferred choice for flight training because of their undeniable cost advantages, Kröning has every reason to look ahead with confidence.

Particularly interesting was the outlook given by Phil Perey, CAE Head of Technology. He confirmed that CAE and government partners will invest one billion CAD over the next five years to innovate aviation training platforms. This includes primary funding for the initiative “CAE Project Digital Intelligence”, a digital transformation venture to develop next-generation training solutions for aviation, defence and security and healthcare. For CAE, this means leveraging emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data and augmented reality into the training experience.

An application doing just that is CAE Rise (Real-time Insights and Standardized Evaluations), developed for both airline and military customers. Based on a tremendous amount of data, RISE objectively assesses pilot competencies in real-time and provides insightful training analytics. The tool enables training tailored to the individual, and provides data-driven feedback to the organization for continuous improvement of training plans.

CAE tactical combat casualty care demonstration. Image credit: CAE

There were other interesting presentations during the factory tour; for example, an impressive outdoor demonstration of combat casualty care, which CAE is providing to the German Special Forces. - Walter F. Ullrich for MS&T