Thibaut Trancart, Managing Director, CAE Middle East,CAE Middle East oversees the company’s defence and security activities in the Middle East.
“My vision is to invest and grow our business in this region by 2025 to better support our customers. With our headquarters in the UAE, we will soon expand by establishing companies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar to give us a local presence, Thibaut Trancart, Managing Director, CAE Middle East told Atul Chandra ahead of IDEX and NAVDEX 2021.
CAE is also establishing key partnerships with several local companies to pursue training sustainment services and offset opportunities in the Middle East, he says.
Edited Excerpts from the Interview
Q: CAE has been focusing primarily on training and is now transforming to leverage digital technologies for training as well as for operational support. How is this beneficial to the countries in the Middle East?
CAE is investing over C$1 billion in R&D as part of a program called Project Digital Intelligence that will revolutionize training and mission support in defence and security, civil aviation, and healthcare with digital innovations. Middle East countries, while preparing for the post-oil era, are now leading in the adoption of artificial intelligence and overall digitalisation through proactive investment strategies. CAE’s strategy is not only to cooperate with its customers and partners in the Middle East, but most importantly, to co-innovate and co-invest with its Middle Eastern partners. Such innovation will be fostered around three Centres of Excellence in the region: naval training, remotely piloted vehicles and mission and operations support.
It is also fair to say that COVID-19 has accelerated the need for digital transformation. In just the last two years, we have seen the emergence of recent innovations that were born out of our Project Digital Intelligence R&D initiatives. One of these new innovations is the CAE Trax Academy; a pilot training continuum that delivers faster, better and more efficient pilot throughput. With advancements in artificial intelligence, data analytics, cloud-computing, virtual/augmented/mixed reality, and cybersecurity, CAE is leveraging these technologies to improve training delivery and mission support. Our own transformation into the digital space is aligned with the region’s aim for innovation and digital transformation. These technologies are game changers to help train military forces more efficiently and effectively and provide decision-makers the tools they need to make timely and better-informed decisions.
Q: What are some of the most recent innovations?
Through our digital transformation, CAE has launched several new innovations in the past two years. As part of the CAE Trax Academy, we introduced CAE Rise (Real-time Insights and Standardized Evaluations), which is a data-driven training system for pilot training. This tool uses big data to analyze student performance objectively and help instructors improve training. Also, part of the CAE Trax Academy is the CAE Sprint Virtual Reality (VR) trainer. It includes a virtual reality headset, haptics, physical flight controls and the CAE Medallion image generator to deliver a high-fidelity and realistic virtual environment. The CAE Sprint VR trainer is available at our office in Abu Dhabi as a customer demonstrator and will be featured at our stand (Hall 1 #01-A21) during IDEX.
Another digitally immersive solution we introduced is the CAE MAVRC (Mission Augmented Virtual Reality/Rear Crew) trainer which leverages mixed reality to create an incredibly immersive rear crew training solution. Finally, we are involved in developing some transformative operational solutions that leverage synthetic environments for planning, analysis and decision support. We are doing this currently for customers such as the UK Strategic Command under a program called the Single Synthetic Environment and US Special Operations Command, where in both cases the ability to create an interconnected and high-fidelity digital twin promises to deliver game-changing capabilities for the whole of a government. CAE in the Middle East is a local company with a global reach to help bring the most leading-edge technologies to help our military customers achieve mission readiness.
Q: What are some of the key programs in the UAE and throughout the Middle East?
CAE is designing and delivering the UAE Naval Training Centre (NTC) for the UAE Navy. As we approach completion, the training centre will be equipped with a range of integrated ship simulation-based training suites, as well as maritime aircraft sensor stations enabling individual, team, whole-ship and collective/joint mission training. The UAE NTC will be one of the world’s most advanced naval training facilities and a real showcase for the UAE Navy. For the UAE Air Force, we are delivering comprehensive training on the RQ-1E remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). We are also nearing completion of helicopter simulators for the UAE Joint Aviation Command. We are under contract to develop a Joint Multinational Simulation Centre (JMSC) for one of the GCC countries. This will enable commanders and operators from the Army, Air Force, Navy and Staff Colleges to use constructive simulation capabilities to conduct military training from the tactical to strategic level of operations. In Oman, we are supporting the creation and establishment of the Oman Aviation Academy to train and supply pilots for both the civil and military sectors in Oman and the surrounding region. As well, we are developing a comprehensive NH90 helicopter training solution for the Qatar Emiri Air Force, and under subcontract to BAE Systems, we will be providing our new state-of-the-art CAE Medallion MR e-Series visual solution for Qatar’s Eurofighter Typhoon simulators.
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