CAE awarded $300-M FWSAR training contract

CAE will design a training centre in Comox, BC and develop a comprehensive training program for Canada's new C295W Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) aircraft

Aviation training solutions company CAE announced that it has secured the contract to provide comprehensive aircrew and maintenance training services to support the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) fixed-wing search and rescue (FWSAR) program.

The contract awarded by aerospace company Airbus Defence and Space is worth approximately $200 million over the next 11 years. It includes the option for an additional extension of 15 years which would bring the total value to more than $300 million.

Airbus Defence and Space and its partner PAL Aerospace secured the air forces $3.1 billion FWSAR contract to provide the aircraft that would replace the service’s fleet of 40-year-old Buffalo and CC-130s search and rescue planes. In December last year, the Canadian government announced that it had selected the Airbus C295W to be its new FWSAR workhorse. That contract entails Airbus to provide the air force with 16 C295Ws specifically modified for search and rescue missions.

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“We are honoured to serve as the training systems integrator to lead the overall design and development of a comprehensive C295W training solution for aircrews and maintainers,” said Joe Armstrong, vice-president and general manager of CAE Canada. “The search and rescue mission in Canada is both critical and challenging, and we are proud that we will play a role in helping train and prepare the RCAF for this mission.”

CAE and Airbus has a long history of partnerships, according to Simon Jacques, head of Airbus Defence and Space in Canada.

“CAE already provides C295 training systems to Airbus and other global operators of the C295, including at our International Training Centre in Seville, Spain,” he said. “This relationship has continually expanded, including Airbus’ announcement of the purchase of two other C295 simulators from CAE in November, and we are pleased to extend this relationship with CAE to Canada for the Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue program.”

According to CAE, the C295W training systems and services is divided into three phases.

The acquisition and development phase will run over the next three years. This phase will see CAE leading the design and construction of a new training centre facility at 19 Wing in Comox, British Columbia.

Delivery of the training centre facility and C295W training suite is expected to take place in late 2019. Housed in the training centre will be a suite of CAE-built training devices, including:

Phase two of the contract will commence with CAE leading a three-year in-service support (ISS) transition period for the C295W aircrew and maintenance training program.

After that, phase three will begin with the 20-year in-service support phase, which is divided into a base five-year ISS contract with three additional five-year options.

During the in-service support phases, CAE will be responsible for providing a range of training services, including training device upgrades and maintenance, hardware and software engineering, courseware updates, technology insertion and obsolescence management, and other in-service support services.

CAE will also be responsible for providing academic and simulator instructors to deliver aircrew and maintenance training.

CAE estimates that the C295W training program will create approximately 300 jobs in Canada over the three-year development phase and approximately 50 jobs, primarily in Comox, BC, over the in-service support phases.

As part of the overall training program, CAE will sub-contract with a pan-Canadian team of small-to-medium-sized businesses.

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