Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971


Optimising Learning and Readiness Through Simulation-Based Training

Nation Shield sat down with Ian Bell, CAE’s Vice President & General Manager, Middle East/Asia-Pacific, before UMEX and SimTex 2018 and discussed the importance of the Middle East market, CAE’s comprehensive training programme. He also spoke about the different capabilities that will be in the spotlight at the show. Excerpts from the interview:

CAE celebrated its 70th anniversary last year. Could you brief us on the company’s plan for future growth and what you are focused on?

CAE has made a progressive transformation towards being a successful training systems integrator. When we say training system integrator, we are really talking about developing a higher-level partnership with governments and militaries to look at their training enterprise holistically. As a company entirely focused on training, we have all the requisite skills and experience required to be a training systems integrator, from training needs analysis and curriculum development through to delivering the optimum balance of live-virtual-constructive training (LVC), whether that’s in a classroom, simulator or actual platform. Currently, we are delivering many programmes where we are the training systems integrator, such as the KC-135 tanker for the U.S. Air Force and the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) programme. But perhaps the best example here in the Middle East is the Naval Training Centre that CAE is currently developing. As the training systems integrator, we are the coordinator for these programmes and we help the government to evaluate and best solve their training challenges by providing expert instruction, leading-edge technologies, and world-class learning methodologies. I will also note that being a training system integrator does not mean we will always deliver CAE products or technologies. For example, we have acquired bridge simulators from VSTEP for the Training Centre and we will be integrating these into the overall training system. We always make a point to choose the best partner to provide the best solution to our customers. In short, being a leading training systems integrator in the air, land, and naval domains continues to be very important to us.

CAE is a truly global company and has had significant successes in markets such as the Middle East. Does the Middle East continue to be an important region to you?

With its strategic importance on the global stage and its critical geographic location, the Middle East region is a very significant defence market and hence strategically important to CAE. The Middle East is also a region where our training systems integration capabilities can prove beneficial to defence forces looking to create independent yet interoperable training environments. Our Middle East headquarters is in Abu Dhabi, and are currently delivering programmes and pursuing others in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman, among others. We also see partnering initiatives with local firms and foreign military sale opportunities through the U.S. The growing defence budget of most countries in the region and the acquisition of very modern and advanced weapon systems means we anticipate that this will increase the military training requirement in the Middle East. 

We hear a lot about live-virtual-constructive (LVC) training. Why is that becoming increasingly important to defence? forces?

Militaries across the world, including in the Middle East, are increasing their use of virtual training in what most call distributed mission operations or distributed mission training. It is simply cost-prohibitive and incredibly time-consuming to conduct massive live training exercises, so we expect more virtual exercises and integrated live-virtual-constructive (iLVC) training to become more commonplace. And we firmly believe that iLVC training can help defence forces cost-effectively maintain and enhance readiness. However, cost is just one dimension of the iLVC argument. The combination of elements of live, virtual, and constructive training can help expand the scale at which training exercises can be conducted. As a training systems integrator, we are focused on supporting our customers’ training and readiness requirements and recognise that cooperation and collaboration will be necessary to deliver integrated LVC training capabilities. This is one of the reasons we announced a collaborative development agreement with Rockwell Collins to develop integrated LVC solutions.

What is the state of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) growth in the Middle East and how does CAE see itself playing a role in that development?

Remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) are no different than manned platforms in that they need skilled and proficient personnel to operate them safely and support combatant commanders in accomplishing a range of missions. CAE is highly engaged in supporting the training of RPA aircrews. Most know CAE is the U.S. Air Force’s training partner on what is undoubtedly the world’s largest RPA training programme – we support the classroom, simulator and live-flying training on the USAF’s MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper. Here in the UAE, we have started delivering a comprehensive training programme. The training programme includes academic training, a full suite of simulators, and training devices and live flying instruction. In fact, a cadre of CAE instructors recently completed intensive live-flying training in Yuma, Arizona, and is now back in the region to begin delivering training. I will also highlight that CAE is General Atomics global training partner on the Predator family of remotely piloted aircraft. CAE fully recognises the growing importance of unmanned systems, and understands they can only be as effective as the people operating them. Our experience in this segment makes us the ideal partner for training RPA pilots and sensor operators, and we see significant opportunities as the defence forces in the Middle East acquire RPA’s.

Could you share CAE’s future collaboration work with partners in the training and simulation market?

CAE has always been a company very willing and receptive to partnering. One of the reasons why CAE is collaborating more with other companies and exploring the use and integration of other technologies is to help us deliver on our promise as a training systems integrator, which means we are partnering with our customer to look holistically at their training enterprise. For example, we recently delivered three Hawk Mk127 full-mission simulators to support the Royal Australian Air Force’s lead-in fighter training programme, and on these simulators we integrated Boeing’s Constant Resolution Visual System display. Partnering with other companies to deliver a comprehensive training solution shows that we can deliver integrated training that is secure, seamless and interoperable.  

What is your focus at the UMEX/SIMTEX show?

One of our key messages to Middle East governments and defence forces is to take an integrated and “holistic” view of training, and that a training systems integrator such as CAE can facilitate a more integrated, interoperable training enterprise. The UAE is certainly taking this approach and setting the foundation that will enable and support integrated mission training.  At UMEX/SIMTEX, we will reinforce our capabilities and experience as a training systems integrator. Then we will also showcase some of our latest simulation-based training systems.  We will demonstrate Naval Combat System Simulators, which will be part of the training solution being delivered in the Middle East region. We will also demonstrate Remotely Piloted Aircraft desktop trainers, which are part of our RPA training program. Finally, we will demonstrate some of the innovative research and development we have been doing related to virtual and augmented reality by showing an RPA ground control station virtual reality application. We are confident visitors to UMEX/SIMTEX will learn why CAE is the global leader in training and simulation.

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