CAE Aircrew Training Services built all six simulators at the U.K.'s Royal Air Force Benson base.
The U.K. Ministry of Defence is looking to train its air force and navy helicopter pilots in a “word-leading” facility, the government said. With new investment in a contract extension, the government has entered into a deal with CAE Aircrew Training Services to continue the partnership for nearly another decade.
CAE is currently under contract with U.K. defense and would see an eight-year extension with the new deal. The ministry is investing more than $118.5 million for CAE’s training services for the Boeing Chinook, Airbus Helicopters Puma and the Leonardo Merlin. Training for the Chinook and Puma is set to end when the Puma’s planned out-of-service date arrives, which was originally set for 2025. Training for the Merlin Mk3 would continue for two more years, at a minimum, as the Royal Navy transitions from the Mk3 to the Mk4.
This contract extension also sustains 70 jobs at the Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility, based at the air force’s Benson base in South Oxfordshire, the ministry said. The center is equipped with three Chinook, two Merlin and one Puma dynamic mission simulator — all built by CAE. It also houses four computer-based ground school training classrooms and a tactical control center for operational mission training.
“The importance of effective synthetic training cannot be underestimated and continues to play an increasingly important role in our overall training curriculum,” said Adrian Baguley, director of air support at the ministry’s Defence Equipment and Support.