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CAE steers remote control to a new level in the UAE

Posted 3 October 2017 · Add Comment

A major training package is gradually being unveiled in the UAE as the nation becomes increasingly deeply involved in operating unmanned aerial vehicles. Alan Dron reports.

The UAE’s interest in developing the use of remote piloted aircraft (RPAs) for its armed services has taken a significant step forward following the award of a contract to Canada-based simulation and training specialist CAE.
The UAE is reported to have taken delivery of a batch of General Atomics Predator XP unarmed RPAs earlier this year – the first nation in the Gulf to do so – and is also the first export customer for the Piaggio Aero P.1HH Hammerhead unmanned air vehicle, a development of the P.180 Avanti executive turboprop aircraft. The UAE is taking eight Hammerheads.
Under the $42 million, five-year contract announced in May, CAE will provide the UAE Air Force and Air Defence (UAEAF&AD) with an integrated training package that will include academic, simulator and live flying training for the air force’s fleet of RPAs.
“Remotely piloted aircraft have been proven as an indispensable asset in modern combat operations and, like all platforms, they require skilled and proficient aircrews who are prepared for a range of missions,” said Ian Bell, CAE’s vice-president and general manager, Middle East/Asia-Pacific.
“We look forward to working closely with the air force as we develop and deliver a world-class turnkey training solution for these unmanned systems.”
CAE will support the UAEAF&AD in establishing a training centre where all RPA type conversion and mission training will be conducted.
The Canadian company will design and develop the courseware and a curriculum for academic and classroom training, including ‘fundamentals courses’ for RPA pilots and sensor operators, as well as courses specific to the air force’s medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) RPA platforms such as the Predator.
To support the ground-based training system, CAE will also deliver a full suite of synthetic training equipment, including desktop trainers, sensor operator trainers, unmanned aerial system (UAS) mission trainers and high-fidelity, type-specific mission trainers. In addition to delivering the classroom and simulator training, CAE instructors will provide live flying instruction for RPA aircrew.
CAE will also support the Khalifa Bin Zayed Air College in the development of an RPA pilot fundamentals training course, as well as training instruction to be delivered as part of the cadet curriculum at the air college.
The RPA contract follows on the heels of another announced last year for CAE to develop helicopter simulators for the NorthStar Aviation 407 multi-role helicopter (MRH) and the Sikorsky UH-60M armed Black Hawk (ABH).
Abu Dhabi-based NorthStar Aviation’s 407MRH is a modified version of the Bell 407GX that is designed for light attack, close air support and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
It retains the Bell 407’s basic configuration, including its four-bladed rotor and hub, but with a glass cockpit, several electro-optical/infrared sensors in a pod under the nose, four weapons stations and a weapons management system. It also has a new tailboom enclosing antennas for military radios, a microwave downlink and other systems.
CAE is delivering this year a major package of training equipment for the 407MRH, ranging from desktop trainers to a high-fidelity, fixed-base level 7 equivalent flight training device.
In a sign of the company’s increasing involvement in the UAE, it moved into new facilities on Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi in March this year.
In a 2016 deal, meanwhile, CAE was contracted to design and manufacture a Sikorsky UH-60M full-mission simulator for the UAE Joint Aviation Command. This is due to be delivered in 2018.
The UH-60M/ABH full-mission simulator representing the armed version of the ubiquitous medium transport helicopter will include the Canadian company’s Medallion-6000 image generator with common database architecture, which is designed to improve networked, interoperable mission training across several platforms.

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