CAE Investing in Simulation R&D, With Government Help
Global simulation firm CAE, located in the Saint-Laurent district of Montreal, Canada, has announced a C$ 714 million (about $450 million equivalent), 5-year “Project Falcon” to enhance its modeling and simulation technologies, develop new ones, and diversify into other visualization markets including analysis and operations.
Aerospace is a major industry in Canada, but the size of Canada’s population and market ensures that over 80% of the industry’s business comes from exports. Hence the province of Quebec’s recent moves to assist Pratt & Whitney Canada with engine development, and the federal Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI) for strategic industrial research and R&D in the aerospace, defence, space and security industries. For CAE’s Project Falcon, SADI will provide a 6-year, C$ 250 million (about $200 million equivalent) repayable loan.
Project Falcon will focus on applying investments into 6 main technology thrusts, including:
- Development of an augmented ‘visionics’ system that would let a pilot to take off and land safely even when visibility outside the cockpit is restricted. In the USA, DARPA’s Peoject Sandblaster is also aiming at that goal; Raytheon and Honeywell are developing the system for helicopters, building on Honeywell’s existing systems for corporate jets.
- Expanded R&D in its traditional training markets, including simulation and modelling for new types of aircraft, unmanned vehicles, and replacement models for current aircraft.
- Develop networking technologies to allow defense forces of many nations to participate simultaneously in real time training and mission rehearsal exercises. The USAF’s F-15 Mission Training Centers are already taking steps toward interoperability within the USA, and leveraging Boeing’s joint USAF DMO/ RAF Team ACTIVE membership, but more comprehensive multi-national options would be a step forward in the industry.
CAE will carry out Project Falcon in Canada, utilizing its R&D laboratories and facilities facilities in Montreal, as well as its ongoing partnerships with various universities, research organizations, and other businesses in Canada. Carleton University’s Centre for Advanced Studies in Visualization, Simulation and Modelling (V-Sim) in Ottawa is especially likely to benefit from this research, given CAE’s close partnership with the school.
CAE is a well-known name in the aerospace and defense sectors, with sites and training locations in 20 countries, and clients in more than 100 countries, including approximately 3,500 airlines, aircraft operators and manufacturers around the world. They recently announced a number of defense-related simulation contracts in North America and Europe, and finalized a joint venture with HAL in India to create a HATSOFF helicopter simulation training center in Bangalore. See also: Industry Canada release | Industry Canada SADI site | CAE release.