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TRAINING & SIMULATION REPORT 2022

TRAINING & SIMULATION REPORT 2022

 BY JAMES CARELESS 

Canada’s TRAINING &
SIMULATION Industry

 

The pandemic’s impact is finally receding and its full steam ahead for Canada’s military training and simulation industry.

 

For the past two years, CDR’s annual report on the Canadian military training and simulation (MTS) industry has been framed within the context of COVID-19. The 2020 report examined how our MTS industry was managing to weather the pandemic’s various business and safety challenges. The 2021 edition traced the industry’s continuing success in the COVID context, as training and simulation companies found their footing in this Brave New World of business.

In this report looking back on the 2022 Canadian MTS business year, the emphasis appears to be on COVID finally being in the industry’s rear-view mirror. “This market appears to have recovered well from the pandemic,” said Phil Cole, VP of Business Development with Certification Center Canada (3C), which provides simulations of next gen airspace and vehicles with new propulsion technologies.

CDR received an overwhelming response to this year’s requests for input for the MTS report — 11 companies in all! Here’s what Canada’s best and brightest told us about the state of the 2022 Canadian MTS market, in their own words.

 

CDR: Please tell us a bit about your company and your training & simulation products

 

Phil Cole
VP Business Development
Cert Center Canada 

Certification Center Canada is a TCCA approved independent flight test and certification DAO providing a complete range of expert flight test and certification services to the global aerospace community. 3C offers a centralized resource with proven management, tools, and methods to undertake civil and military aerospace projects. 3C’s CFATE-Centre for Future Aerospace Technologies, Evaluation, Flight Test and Certification was launched in 2021 to help customers transform aerospace platforms through the deployment of new technologies.

We provide training in flight test engineering, certification processes, design for certifiability and flight testing.

 

Jonas Furukrona
Vice President and General Manager
Live, Virtual, Constructive (LVC) Training, Cubic, Mission and Performance Solutions (CMPS)

Much of Cubic’s DNA stems from live training in the Ground and Air domains. We were early pioneers in both Air Combat Manoeuvring Instrumentation (ACMI) systems and Ground Laser Based systems.

Cubic and the Canadian Army (CA) have worked together for years to provide the best-possible live simulation training experience for soldiers about to go into harm’s way. Since 2006, when the first Exercise Maple Guardian took place, thousands of Canadian soldiers, airmen, and sailors have used Weapon Effects Systems (WES) to prepare for combat operations, including counterinsurgency, general combat, and stability operations. WES’s realistic training conditions have saved lives and as the CA prepares for future missions, WES has continued to adapt, modernize, and evolve to meet those training challenges. As an example, last year we completed the delivery of four Urban Operations Training Systems for the Canadian Army that creates a world-class urban warfare training capability that is fully integrated and interoperable with our WES system.

In the air domain, we have supported the RCAF CF-18 fleet for many years with our ACMI systems and we continue to evolve that system with a better software on the ground that provides better data capture and analytics capabilities. Our P5 Internal Subsystem (P5 IS) ACMI system is also on the F-35 and will be part of future F-35 deliveries to Canada where the RCAF already has existing P5 infrastructure in Cold Lake.

For the USN, we have developed over 7,000 hours of courseware content for the different versions of the USN Littoral Combat Ship. This training content is what the USN refers to as Complex Media which is basically an immersive gaming experience with different levels of ‘hand-holding’ for the students so that they can go through the crawl-walk-run evolution as they become more proficient.

 

Hans Lindgren
Saab Training and Simulation
Head of Business Development 

Saab is a leading defence and security company with a broad portfolio that includes aircraft, weapons, sensors, training solutions and much more. Saab Canada is the Canadian division of the company, which has it’s global headquarters in Sweden.

Saab is renowned globally for it’s training and simulation offering, which is currently leading the industry with over 40 countries, on all continents, currently engaged as customers. Within Canada, we are also a training provider for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Parliamentary Protective Service, which use Saab systems to train security teams protecting critical infrastructure and our parliamentary buildings. Our Training solutions serve applications in many domains, including military and public safety.

We pride ourselves on having the most realistic training, followed by immediate feedback and detailed evaluation so that trainees can best prepare for their missions. We put the individual in the very centre of training operations and build our systems from there. Our training offering is scalable, interoperable with multi-national partners and deployable providing customers the best preparation for going into real operations where lives are at risk.

 

France Hebert
CAE D&S Canada
Vice President & General Manager 

At CAE, we equip people in critical roles with the expertise and solutions to create a safer world. As a technology company, we digitalize the physical world, deploying simulation training and critical operations support solutions. Above all else, we empower pilots, airlines, defence and security forces, and healthcare practitioners to perform at their best every day and when the stakes are the highest.

CAE’s Defense & Security business unit is at the leading edge of digital innovation, providing training and mission support solutions across multi-domain operations – air, land, maritime, space and cyber. Our training and operational solutions support customers who operate in complex, high-stakes environments where mission readiness and successful outcomes are critical. CAE Defense & Security is the world’s leading pure play, platform agnostic training and simulation company serving the global defence market.

Around the globe, CAE is everywhere customers need us to be, with more than 13,000 employees in more than 200 sites and training locations in over 40 countries. CAE represents 75 years of industry firsts—the highest-fidelity flight and mission simulators, surgical manikins, and personalized training programs powered by artificial intelligence. We’re investing our time and resources into building the next generation of cutting-edge, digitally immersive training and critical operations solutions while keeping positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) impact at the core of our mission.

As the largest Canadian-based defence company, approximately half of our global workforce is based in Canada, where we provide comprehensive training, simulation, and mission and operational support solutions to the Canadian Armed Forces.

 

Duncan McSporran
COO, VP Defence and Public Sector
Kognitiv Spark

Established in 2016, Kognitiv Spark has worked closely with global partners to create 100% Canadian Mixed Reality (MR) solutions, with an emphasis on user-centered development. The company is led by an executive team with deep expertise in cybersecurity, oil and gas, industrial engineering, and aerospace and defence. Kognitiv Spark delivers robust and integrated solutions that surpass advanced performance and security requirements.

Kognitiv Spark offers world-leading capabilities for the deployment of highly capable Mixed Reality solutions in the Aerospace and Defence sector. Utilising the power of the Microsoft HoloLens and other spatial computing platforms, our software solution RemoteSpark™, offers a highly unique and secure opportunity for companies in their digital transformation. It is currently deployed globally as a solution to provide effective support for repair and maintenance, remote inspection, complex assembly, quality assurance, safety and situational awareness, and on-the-job-training and healthcare.

 

Jean-Claude Siew
EVP Technology & Simulation
Bluedrop Training & Simulation Inc. 

Bluedrop Training & Simulation Inc. (BTSI) designs, develops, and integrates advanced training solutions including state-of-the-art simulator, simulation, and training products, highly interactive courseware and technical publications. Our approach meets the demands of today’s modern armed forces and civilian search and rescue communities by providing blended training solutions from the classroom through to simulated virtual environments aimed at improving safety, productivity, and efficiency. BTSI is a small to medium-sized enterprise providing a strong value proposition offering 100% Canadian designed and developed solutions.

Bluedrop develops rear crew training simulators including the Hoist Mission Training System (HMTS) which is a rear crew trainer using virtual reality and provides full haptics and cable dynamics for mission training of SAR technicians. Bluedrop has also capabilities to develop flight and land crew simulators such Flight Training Devices and full motion armored vehicle and gunnery simulators.

BTSI also provides In-Service Support (ISS) services for large aerospace and defence training programs and training centers around the world. Bluedrop’s subject matter experts support and maintain a wide range of training equipment from desktop trainers, high fidelity rear crew devices, and full flight simulators. Bluedrop also provides bespoke sustainment activities and support services such as maintenance and administration of training courseware and technical publications.

Bluedrop’s main customers are major primes for large programs and include Sikorsky, General Dynamics – Mission Systems, CAE Inc., Seaspan (Vancouver Shipyards), Fleetway Inc., Boeing, Calian and KF Aero. Internationally, Bluedrop main customers include CAE USA, Cubic, CAE Australia, Ascent Flight Training Ltd.

 

Emily Smits
Chief Executive Officer
Modest Tree 

Modest Tree, a Halifax based company, works with top-tier aerospace and defence clients providing them with immersive training to help them visualize their operations, and maintenance processes. Modest Tree has a strong history of providing immersive training on desktop, tablet, augmented reality and virtual reality to Canadian and international defence clients.

Since our founding in 2011 we have provided immersive training software and services, mainly for operational and maintenance procedures, or virtual task trainers.

Modest Tree has provided immersive training software to create virtual task trainers for desktop, tablet, augmented and virtual reality.

Through Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, Modest Tree has developed a product offering called Tech Companion, a software platform providing digital tools to streamline operations and maintenance on physical equipment. Tech Companion brings together digitalized work instructions, 3D visualizations of procedures, and remote support with augmented reality visual assistance.

 

Didier Toussaint
Chief Operating Officer
Top Aces 

Founded in 2000, Top Aces is one of the largest and most experienced adversary air training companies in the world. With over 350 employees globally, we maintain and operate a growing fleet of highly modified, civil-certified, high-performance ex-military aircraft to serve the training needs of Tier 1 military clients. Our fleet of aircraft has grown dramatically in the past year with the introduction of the world’s first commercially operated 4th generation fighter, the F-16 Viper.

In order to deliver near-peer aggressor training, Top Aces has achieved Airworthiness certification of our proprietary Advanced Aggressor Mission System (AAMS) in both the A-4N and the F-16. The AAMS is an open architecture system that enables the integration of diverse mission capabilities onto our aircraft such as advanced AESA radar, weapons effect training, datalink, passive EO/IR search and tracking, helmet mounted cueing of high off-boresight close-range weapons, advanced electronic attack, and integration of a client’s LVC standard. The combination of a low RCS, high kinematics platform with these advanced capabilities provides the best available threat replication of a near-peer adversary, at a cost that is significantly lower than what our customers would incur operating an internal adversary force.

Top Aces has provided airborne training services to Canada under various iterations of the Contracted Airborne Training Services (CATS) programs since 2005, ensuring the operational readiness of the CAF. Our success in Canada has allowed us to export safe and effective high-performance, airborne combat training internationally to Europe, Australia and the U.S.A. Top Aces has flown over 100,000 hours of live training, with a mission accomplishment rate of over 98% of sorties tasked. Our service is the safe and professional provision of the adversary for Air and Naval Forces training, while replicating the blue air fighter for Army Joint Terminal Attack Controller training, including the delivery of practice ordnance and video datalink (VDL) with advanced EO/IR sensors.

 

Jay Ballard
Military Training and Simulation Lead
Calian Group Limited 

Calian is a leading provider of defence solutions across multiple domains. We build, test, and deliver military systems and components though our defence manufacturing team, and deliver ground-based space solutions for satcom, deep space exploration, and satellite operations. Our health care team delivers healthcare services for DND at installations across Canada, and our IT and cyber security team provided network and end-point security solutions, emissions security, and counter-UAS solutions.

On the training and simulation side, we have a broad range of products and solutions that we deliver for the CAF, for NATO and for NATO member countries. To put it simply, our secret sauce is that we are very experienced at designing, developing and delivering exercises and that we are proven integrators of disparate simulation and operational C2 programs that were never intended to work together. This combination results in a seamless simulated environment that immerses the training audience in the scenario, which is the key to vastly improving training results. Some of the solutions in this process include an intuitive exercise management guide, C4ISR simulation data fusion, performance evaluation and assessment tools, and immersive technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

Intuitive Exercise Management Guide – MaestroEDE: MaestroEDE was developed working side-by-side with training leaders at the Canadian Army Simulation Centre (CASC). CASC needed a single tool suite for designing, developing, and delivering exercises, and something with the built-in ability to do after-action reviews. MaestroEDE does all of that. Using MaestroEDE, exercise designers and developers build each collection of events and injects to meet specific training objectives. When it comes time for delivery, those events and injects are delivered automatically to exercise participants. MaestroEDE is turn-key solution for exercise design, development, and delivery. It was built to meet the Canadian Army’s needs, and aligns with all NATO-standard procedures.

C4ISR simulation data fusion: There are many proprietary simulation-based training systems available for military training. Many have their own data standards, making interoperability challenging. The Virtual Command and Control Interface (VCCI) tool supports simulation-based military training. It is a middleware that sits between any third-party simulator and military command-and-control applications. VCCI offers data translation, data transformation and coordination services between third-party simulators and command-and-control applications, allowing for a single, synthetic training environment to be developed.

Performance Evaluation & Assessment: Aramis is a military off-the-shelf (MOTS) after-action review tool that graphically represents complex simulation data captured from a military exercise. It allows issues from the exercise to be quickly located and display it in a meaningful fashion, increasing the value of the event for the primary training audience.

Immersive Technologies – AR/VR: Using Microsoft HoloLens technology, our AR/VR solutions provide highly realistic immersive environments for any individual training application. Our replenishment-at-sea (RAS) trainer allows sailors to rehearse this demanding operation in a safe, immersive environment before ever stepping foot on a ship. Our joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) simulator lets trainees direct and control joint fires in an immersive, synthetic environment before practicing for real on live ranges. The AR and VR experience provides high-fidelity training in a lower-risk and lower-cost environment where trainees can make mistakes before doing the job in a real environment.

 

Abir Kazan
Senior Capture Manage
SkyAlyne 

SkyAlyne – we are a team of Canadian aerospace and defence experts founded by CAE and KF Aerospace, bidding on Canada’s Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) Program. FAcT is a generational training and in-service support program for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

 

Gabe Batstone
CEO
Contextere / Blue Collar AI

Contextere is an industrial software company creating AI-enabled solutions focused on human performance. Contextere is transforming the future of work by combining data extraction, machine learning and natural language processing to deliver actionable intelligence to the last tactical mile.

Our flagship product, Madison, is AI-enabled workforce productivity & decision support software that delivers actionable insights to industrial workers, empowering them to get the job done safely and accurately. Madison increases situational awareness, builds semantic understanding of dynamic data environments, and reduces cognitive overload to provide better decisions and improved performance on the last tactical mile. Imagine “Siri” for an industrial environment.

 


 

CDR: How strong is the Canadian training & simulations market in the wake of COVID-19, and what trends are driving it?

 

Phil Cole
Cert Center Canada

This market appears to have recovered well from the pandemic and the global pilot shortage still very much exists.

 

Jonas Furukrona
CUBIC 

The Canadian training and simulation market is strong although acquisition timelines are always hard to plan for given the changing budgets and prioritizations within the DND. During COVID, we saw a reduction in training activity, especially on the Ground side, at most of the CTCs we operate around the world, but it has fully recovered today.

The overall trend, including virtual and live training, is preparing for a peer conflict given the current geopolitical situation. That means making sure that your Force is ready for multi-domain operations where both kinetic and non-kinetic effects are being employed or simulated during training and current training gaps are filled to better represent certain effects on the battlespace.

With a movement toward digitization and Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) interfaces, there is also an increase in available LVC capabilities that can be integrated with existing systems. For this to succeed, it’s critical to have an open system architecture that allows different vendors’ equipment to integrate in the same overall system.

 

Hans Lindgren
Saab Training and Simulation 

Like many nations worldwide the pressure for increased and accelerated defence spending has intensified in the past year and Canada is no exception, given its focus on supporting Ukraine in its response to the unlawful attack by Russia. Training is a critical component to operational readiness and it must be inter-operable with NATO, FVEY and other partners, in order for Canada to continue supporting European safety. The biggest trend Saab is seeing around the world with all customers is an acceleration of programs and a need to increase defence budgets.

 

France Hebert
CAE D&S Canada 

The Canadian Armed Forces are among the best-trained militaries in the world, and as CAE’s growing presence attests, the trend towards increased use of advanced simulation and training is only going to accelerate – particularly as Canada continues to recapitalize its major naval, land, and air fleets.

At the same time, new geopolitical challenges are making it clear that training must go beyond proficient use of individual systems, and traditional platform simulation. More than ever, military forces will be called upon to work jointly, and in combination with the multi-national forces s, as well as with public safety and security forces. Whether this is to counter conventional military threats, respond to public safety incidents, or address pressing security challenges such as climate change or pandemic conditions, advanced simulation and high-quality training can improve performance across the board, from the front lines of first responders to planners and decision-makers at all levels.

Although the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 continue to weigh on the Canadian market, there are positive indications that Government priorities (and budgets) will continue to look to advanced simulation and training capabilities to maximize the benefits and minimize the operating costs of new systems.

To ensure we deliver cutting-edge innovative solutions to meet the changing needs of our Canadian, US and International customers, CAE leads collaboration and works with highly-capable industry partners. We see this trend continuing as simulation and training system complexity continues to mount, with larger and more specialized companies like CAE taking on integration responsibilities, assisting smaller businesses with novel technologies to bring their offerings to a broader market, or bringing our technologies to bear on complex training challenges that may challenge even large military platform manufacturers to surmount.

 

Duncan McSporran
Kognitiv Spark 

In my view, the Training and Simulation market is, more than ever before, in higher demand. The pandemic passed on several very important lessons – one of the biggest is that being dependent on doing things in one manner of training only induces risk that directly impacts capability and force development. The fact that Covid restricted access to train in-person or in classroom environments, really forced the issue of adopting a new way of doing business. This new way has led to refocusing training to encompass all forms of simulation including both Virtual Reality (VR), which is completely synthetic environments, and Mixed Reality where experts can provide training and support at the point of need – which isn’t in the classroom. The learning environment now is often home station for students, or for trained personnel it is their work or operational environment and are harnessing making use of Mixed Reality assets or remote support from an expert to conduct regenerative training before conducting a task.

 

Jean-Claude Siew
Bluedrop Training & Simulation Inc.

The Canadian Training & Simulation market has remained strong during the pandemic and this trend seems to continue into the medium term. Main Canadian programs are on-going despite the pandemic with some delay though. Navy as well as Air Force programs have kept us busy and new programs such as the Joint Support Ship (JSS) have enabled Bluedrop to maintain its growth.

Looking ahead, the Canadian Training & Simulation market looks strong. It has been very important that government has maintained all major investments in the Defense and Security domain through the pandemic. Programs like the Future Aircrew Training is progressing through the acquisition phase while the CSC program, while slow, is moving along. in addition the AOPS and JSS programs are in execution.

We are also looking forward to other programs such as RPAS, STTC, CMLU and others. The Defense and Security domain is key to Canada and we can see the result through the economic benefits it brings.

 

Emily Smits
Modest Tree 

In the wake of COVID-19 where there were procurement delays, the training and simulation market continues to see growth. During the pandemic there were limitations on in-person training due to health and safety guidelines, we have seen an increase in adoption of virtual training, and an increased emphasis on remote training initiatives.

A key driver of the training and simulations market is the need to maintain and scale a qualified workforce while addressing retention and recruitment issues as well as the aging/retirement of the highly skilled and experienced workers.

The priority of operational readiness has advanced the adoption of deploying remote learning programs that provide high-value engagement. For Modest Tree, many of our engagements with clients are helping them use immersive technology on devices such as using 3D virtual training on desktop, augmented reality enabled training on mobile devices, leveraging the devices they have readily on hand. There is an increased emphasis on ensuring remote learning is engaging and increasing the value of remote learning to not simply be watching a Zoom or Teams call.

 

Didier Toussaint
Top Aces 

This is a very exciting time in Canada with multiple major RCAF procurements underway. As Canada’s most trusted experts in the delivery of live fast jet operations, Top Aces has a key role to play in FFCP, FAcT and FLIT. Our Canadian fighter instructor pilot cadre is a trusted team of the RCAF’s most qualified veteran CF-18 pilots – Experience matters!

Canada, a world leader in training and simulation for several decades, needs to continue to lead the way in Live, Virtual and Constructive (LVC) training with entities engaging in more realistic and secure training scenarios. Innovative solutions continue to advance the envelope in training effectiveness, and immersive, peer-based learning continues to drive the training market to a more efficient pull vice push-based solution, while cyber-security risks challenge IT systems to stay operational. Regardless of the simulation enhancements, live training remains an essential component to achieve and validate operational readiness reflective of today’s real-world climates, to include the demanding physical and mental aspects of high-g maneuvering and decision making – while operating in a live dynamic multi threat combat environment.

 

Jay Ballard
Calian Group Limited 

COVID-19 forced adaptation in almost every aspect of life. For the CAF, this meant continuing with training while under increased operational tempo for domestic response while being more dispersed to reduce the COVID risk. This was no easy feat, and required a lot of creative thinking and development of innovative solutions. The biggest trends we are seeing today are:

Demand for Synthetic Training Environments: Using synthetic training environments allows for training to happen simultaneously at multiple locations, saving a lot of travel time and cost. Technology is at the point now where realistic training exercises can be conducted in a synthetic environment. Militaries have been very satisfied with our synthetic training environments because it has been cost-effective, reduced the amount of travel required, and provided continuity of training during challenging times.

Realism: Realistic training requires two things: a high-fidelity representation of the training environment and realistic scenarios that militaries can expect to see on operations. This means not only providing the right technology for an immersive training experience, but also developing scenarios based on current trends and observations. To develop these scenarios, we bring the right mix of people to the team and consult with experts in current trends.

Reduce personnel requirements through technology: Developing and delivering training is personnel-intensive. It literally takes a small army to design an exercise, develop thousands of pages of orders and message traffic, and coordinate the timing and training delivery. Militaries around the world faced personnel shortages as a result of COVID-19, and have fewer personnel available for training development. This is where companies like Calian provide significant value. Balancing Calian personnel with uniformed personnel for training development results in relevant, contemporary training informed by vast operational experience.

 

Abir Kazan
SkyAlyne 

COVID-19 reminded us that having domestic capabilities are crucial to our safety and security. Canada is a worldwide leader in training & simulation. CAE – founded in Montreal in 1947, has over 200 training locations in more than 35 countries, including the NFTC Program in Moose Jaw, SK, and Cold Lake, AB, where CAE leads the live flying and simulated training of RCAF Pilots. KF Aerospace in one of Canada’s leading aerospace firms and has expertly managed RCAF training & simulation via the CFTS contract in Southport, MB since 2005 . By forming SkyAlyne and including a pan-Canadian team of some of Canada’s foremost defence companies, CAE and KF Aerospace are providing leadership in Canadian industry and have positioned Canada to reimagine military aircrew training on a global scale.

 

Gabe Batstone
Contextere / Blue Collar AI 

Though disruptive to many global markets, the COVID-19 pandemic increased both awareness of and demand for simulation and training systems as necessity required the accelerated adoption of digital technologies. Disruptions in the global supply chain have impacted the manufacturing of digital battlefield products, increasing the prioritization for rapid prototyping and development of software package upgrades and augmentations to existing training system hardware. Canada is continuing to react to heightened global geopoliticial tension and we expect this to drive growth in the training & simulation market as military capabilities are strengthened.


 

CDR: What initiatives (FAcT, FLIT, LVCTS, WES, etc.) are driving Canada’s Military Training & Simulation market?

 

Phil Cole
Cert Center Canada

FAcT is definitely a contributing factor here in Canada but FFLIT and forward looking skills shortages already identified by RCAF in terms of expected deliveries of new platform types are also major factors.

 

Jonas Furukrona
CUBIC 

As training is shifting to more MDOs and preparing for the peer threat, increased use of LVC is going from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a ‘must-have. It is no longer possible to effectively train the kinds of scenarios that will be needed using current training systems.

The RCAF training spectrum is obviously going to change quite a bit with FAcT, FFLIT and Future Fighter being introduced. Increased use of LVC capabilities like those that Cubic has developed together with AFRL and NAVAIR over the last 5-7 years is an obvious path to ensure not only extremely realistic training but also doing so cost-effectively.

On the ground side, increased use of LVC capabilities like the ones Cubic is currently employing for the British Army and Australian Army will be a requirement to ensure that certain effects can be simulated effectively and safely. Geo-pairing solutions are being introduced to fill some of the current training gaps and improved shoulder-launched munition training to emulate weapons like the Javelin are also being introduced.

As more capabilities and domains are added, it means that more data is being generated at every training event. This will require better systems to capture, structure, store, analyse and present that data which will include both objective and subjective inputs. As more data is captured, we will be able to use AI/ML to help derive new operational concepts and TTPs but it all starts with having the structured data sets.

 

Hans Lindgren
Saab Training and Simulation 

Saab is currently focused on providing a live training solution for Canada’s Weapons Effects Simulation (WES) Modernization Project, which seeks to modernize a current system intended to simulate realistic weapon effects during force-on-force field training exercises. WES enables effective after-action review to enhance commanders’ ability to train and evaluate their troops. The modernization program will seek to replace and renew the existing training capabilities with a priority on multi-national inter-operability and improved service availability.

Saab’s GAMER system is perfectly positioned to satisfy the requirements of the WES modernization program. It has multiple communication configurations which enable interoperability between forces when performing joint exercises. The Manpack, or man portable version of the system, is a small unit training tool that can host up to 300 soldiers and/or vehicles, and provides functionality which is almost identical to a full scale Combat Training Centre (CTC). This would provide much greater capability and flexibility for Canadian Forces to train anywhere in the world at anytime.

 

France Hebert
CAE D&S Canada 

The Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) program is a critical domestic market opportunity – not only because it will allow the RCAF to seamlessly and cost-effectively transition its current world-class training system into the future, but also because it will provide a broad cross-section of Canadian companies with a reliable, long-term environment in which to develop and field new technologies. The importance of a resilient and innovative training solution is one of the many reasons CAE is pursuing the FAcT opportunity as a member of the SkyAlyne Joint Venture with KF Aerospace, to utilize national resources and technology and empower Canada for future defence efforts. However, it is only one of many programs driving the market.

The simple reality is that no major defence platform, system, or critical piece of equipment can be fielded without careful consideration of how to prepare our men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces to operate and maintain it safely, under the most demanding conditions. Programs such as the Future Fighter Capability Project, the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System, the Strategic Tanker Transport, NORAD Modernization, the Canadian Surface Combatant ship program, the Royal Canadian Navy’s Future Naval Training System (FNTS), and the Canadian Army’s Land Vehicle Crew Training System (LVCTS) all require advanced simulation and training capabilities – and favour CAE’s unique position as Canada’s training partner of choice.

 

Duncan McSporran
Kognitiv Spark 

FAcT is definitely a driver but there are several others in the mix such as LVCTS, Future Fighter Lead in Training, RCN ISTAR UAS, and also the LVM program. Primes need to draft responses to these tenders that include a Value Proposition that makes use of SME organizations that provide them with innovation and essentially check the KICs boxes. This fundamental aspect of the Industrial Technical Benefits program genuinely drives Innovation for Canadian SMBs. For the Immersive Technology sector, several KICs are driving the primes to engage with experts in the area of MR and VR. This alignment is already providing better options for training, maintaining qualification standards for soldiers and aviators, and ensuring that in-service support is properly supported with world leading tech for Canadian Defence developed by innovative Canadian SMBs.

 

Jonas Furukrona
CUBIC

As mentioned, the fact that main Canadian programs are on-going despite the pandemic has maintained the level of activity in training & simulation and ensuring that future programs’ budgets and schedules are maintained are key to keep growing the training & simulation domain. With the continued instability worldwide, we expect that continued investment in Defense will be the norm. As a continued commitment to Canada’s Defense industry, the provision in Canada’s budget of new funding over five years on top of planned increases associated with Strong, Secure, Engaged should strengthen Canada’s Training & Simulation market.

 

Emily Smits
Modest Tree 

Programs like FAcT and LVCTS are increasing focus and investments for training and simulation and highlighting the capabilities of companies like Modest Tree to support these programs with Canadian courseware and content.

In these defence procurements in training and simulations there is a focus on the cost-effectiveness of the outputs in utilizing the latest and emerging technologies. It is a reality that there are reduced budgets however the advances in technology have allowed for new and more efficient ways of training and maintenance. These large scale procurements also have a focus on interoperability in the solutions and training that is live as well as virtual so that it can be accessible in delivery across locations, to the right people at the right time.

The landscape of training and simulation has changed with the defense industry’s focus on ensuring applications leverage data and are connected to contribute to competencies and training capabilities that have efficiencies for mission and operational readiness.

One of the key aspects in training is capturing the existing knowledge and ensuring information is accessible. Legacy knowledge capture is a key factor in the training aspects of these procurements. LGen Al Meinzinger, commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force stated “We must retain our personnel, their skills and their experience–not only for mission success, but also so they can transfer their knowledge and expertise to more junior members. This ongoing knowledge transfer sustains us as an institution.” In training, accessing legacy data and capturing the expertise and knowledge of technical experts, in an easy accessible format, where workers need the information most – on the job is being integrated into the latest solutions.

Harnessing data across these complex procurements with multiple application integrations recognizes that there must be scalability and security in future-proofing. Training and simulations must have flexibility and be adaptable to change.

 

Didier Toussaint
Top Aces 

Major Crown Procurement provides opportunities for substantial investments in new and more efficient training systems, but the environment of rapid change demands a continuous technology refresh rate. New programs need to embed upgrade cycles within the original procurement instead of waiting 20+ years to replace or upgrade the training systems. Rarely in modern operations does one CAF system operate in isolation, and so distributed training networks that allow environmental training systems to connect and practice must be part of every new training system. This ensures that every part of a system continues to interact with the other battlespace entities. It is also crucial to remember that real world operational experience is critical to effective training. The operational capability and the training system need to be in balance.

 

Jay Ballard
Calian Group Limited 

The biggest driver right now is the war in Ukraine. The lessons learned from modern warfare are coming out what seems like every week. These observations are making militaries and training / simulation companies think about scenario development and about the kinds of training NATO militaries need.

NATO and Allies – Ukraine: This cannot be over-emphasized. Many of the assumptions about how modern warfare was going to be waged were wrong, and some were incomplete or not fully developed. What we are seeing now is not so much going to drive simulation technology; but it will absolutely drive how we use that technology, and what kind of scenarios we develop. This impact will be NATO wide.

Personnel shortages: Post-COVID reconstitution is a major challenge for the CAF that continues to stress them operationally but especially in force generation. A critical mass of mid-level officer and non-commissioned officer ranks are needed to train the newest members of the CAF and the fewer personnel available to train those newest members – the fewer recruits that can be trained. Other NATO militaries are facing similar challenges. Training new people and upskilling existing people is vital to making the most of any defence team. Simulation-based training is a cost-effective – and personnel effective – way to train new personnel. Achieving proficiency will always require some live exercises, but simulation provides an avenue for task / skill repetition at no risk and lower cost and can bridge currency gaps for certain skills.

COVID-19: Militaries couldn’t train together for a while — especially when case-loads were at their highest — and this forced more creativity and innovative approaches on delivering simulation-based learning. During the height of COVID we designed some of our larger exercises to be even more distributed with the simulated environment shared between more sites, which lowered contagion risk.

Budgets: we know that Canada has announced defence funding. Much of this is earmarked for continental defence modernization and cyber defence. These are positive developments. However, we would like to see some more clarity on what this means from military training programs, specifically

 

Gabe Batstone
Contextere / Blue Collar AI 

Due to the long lead times and long time before any of those procurements the impacts on innovation are muted. The requirements for most new programs are tied primarily tied to existing capability despite best efforts.

What training & simulation systems has your company sold worldwide to date, and what trends/demands are you seeing in the marketplace; both defence and civil?

 

Jonas Furukrona
CUBIC

Cubic has been developing, delivering, and maintaining laser engagement simulation systems for over two decades. We have fielded more than 200,000 man-worn systems, 10,000 vehicle systems, 25,000 Player Radio Devices (PRDs), and 52 fixed and mobile combat training ranges in 33 countries. Our latest-generation laser engagement simulation systems are used throughout Asia and the Pacific, North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Cubic’s laser engagement simulation system is the U.S. Army and United States Marine Corps (USMC) Program of Record (POR), and our Combat Training Solutions (CTS) are recognized as the global standard for Force-on-Force (FOF) training.

Cubic’s next-generation MILES man-worn system—the wireless PAN—maximizes Soldiers’ ergonomics during FOF exercises. Designed with independent, small, lightweight components, the wireless PAN system can be universally configured to Soldiers’ tactical equipment. The detectors are capable of simultaneously decoding UCATT, PMT-90, and HEXL2C without modification. Cubic’s multi-code laser is designed to transmit PMT-90 (MILES), HEXL-2C, or UCATT (SISO-STD-016 ULEIS). PAN incorporates the latest wireless technologies while retaining Cubic’s proven methodologies gained from fielding over 200,000 MILES systems worldwide.

Our Synthetic Wrap expands the instrumented live training environment by adding virtual and constructive training, thus allowing Soldiers to train with platforms and to deliver effects that would otherwise be precluded due to cost, scarcity, or safety. This proven, expeditionary training capability has been in service with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for 3 years and allows Cubic to seamlessly integrate delivery of virtual and constructive joint fires, Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) and air defense assets and effects into field training. Synthetic Wrap significantly enhances live training for intelligence and fires and protects warfighting functions.

Globally, our laser engagement systems are used in over 30 countries. Some of our larger training centres (in addition to Canada) include US, Australia, UK, Singapore and Italy.

As we are developing new capabilities for one customer, we are able to bring that to other customers to more cost-effectively fill training gaps. An example of that is a new mortar training system we are currently developing and testing with the U.S. Army. The pedigree of that system is from our UK AWES system where that capability has been developed and used in the field for the past few years.

In Australia, we are in development of a new Chemical, Biological, Nuclear, and Radiological (CBRN) training capability in their CTC which can also be brought to other customers.

Our CATS Metrix software provides live monitoring and control over ground training events for most of our international customers: Sweden, for example, employs the software during multinational exercises and when running exercises with Nordic countries (e.g., Norway).

In the air domain, we have delivered over 3,000 ACMI pods when combining our KITS (used by the RACF) and P5CTS systems and they are in current use all over the world. We also just recently delivered our 1,000th P5 IS for the F-35 which is interoperable with our P5CTS pods. We are also deploying our newest software called SPEAR to all of our U.S. Air Force customers to meet the increasing demand for better data collection, multi-domain visualization and AAR and improved analytics.

 

Hans Lindgren
Saab Training and Simulation 

Saab’s training and simulation solutions are in use in over 40 countries and on all continents. Notable customers include The Netherlands Army, the U.S. Marine Corps, Australia, United Kingdon, Sweden, Poland and Germany to name a few. In the future, Saab sees an increased need for the training of larger forces on battalion and brigade level, especially in Europe. Another important aspect of this business is the aftermarket opportunities within support and services as customers are demanding higher availability of training facilities. Customers want to be able to train on demand, quickly and where their teams are located – not forcing them to travel to training facilities. A key focus going forward will be to combine live training with virtual training and the utilization of AI technology for analytics. Another key focus for Saab is on interoperability and with more than 40 customers worldwide, Saab promotes inter-operability amongst its customers through a common product platform and standardized interfaces that allows international forces to train together. For example, Saab’s training solution is used for Northern Wind, an exercise with more than 10 000 attendees from Sweden, Finland, Norway, United States and United Kingdom. Saab has evolved its training and simulation solutions, in partnership with its 16 member Interoperability User Community, to ensure these nations could train together in multinational programs. The IUC includes key NATO members including the United States, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and Slovenia.

 

France Hebert
CAE D&S Canada

As the world’s leading pure-play, platform agnostic military training provider, CAE provides extensive training systems and services to defence forces around the world. Some recent highlights include:

Platforms and Systems Training Contract, Royal Australian Navy (FY23): CAE Australia will support the transformation of future training delivered to mariners across the Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD), Hobart Class Destroyer (DDG), Supply Class Auxiliary Oiler Replenisher (AOR) and Huon Class Minehunter Coastal (MHC). CAE’s innovative solution will enable the Royal Australian Navy to accelerate training throughput and enhance delivery of sustainable distributed training – on-site, in port, and at sea.

Soldier Virtual Trainer (SVT), US Army (FY23): CAE will collaborate with industry leaders and team partners to develop the next generation of virtual training solutions for the U.S. Army, enhancing mission readiness. The SVT integrates several training capabilities in Weapons Skill Development, Use of Force and Joint Fires Training in a single, next-generation training system.

NATO Flying Training (NFTC) extended through 2027, CANADA: The NFTC program combines basic, advanced, and lead-in fighter training as part of the comprehensive military pilot training program. Extending the NFTC contract with CAE and aligning it with the Contracted Flying Training and Support (CFTS) program managed by KF Aerospace, the Government of Canada now has both of its existing pilot training programs contracted through 2027. This will enable the Government of Canada to effect an orderly transition to the next-generation Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) program.

Ab Initio flight training, German Air Force: CAE GmbH provides training services in a newly established training facility at Bremen airport in Germany to support the training of entry-level German Air Force aviators. CAE will provide academic, simulator and live-flying training to more than 40 student aviators in the first year. A fleet of Diamond DA-40 and CAE-owned DA-42 aircraft will be used to fulfill single and multi-engine live-flying training requirements at both the CAE Bremen Training Centre, as well as a training site in Montpellier, France operated by industry partner Airways Aviation.

National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), Beyond 3D, CAE USA: The Beyond 3D project, led by the Training and Readiness Accelerator (TReX), aims to accelerate NGA’s ability to process, exploit, disseminate and generate 3D geospatial data to support real-time analysis, mission planning and tactical operations. CAE is leading the prototype development and integration.

Joint Terminal Control Training Rehearsal System (JTC TRS), US Air Force, CAE USA: The JTC TRS is a mission-critical simulation system used to train new Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) operators for real-world scenarios such as controlling aircraft and deploying weapons against designated ground targets. CAE USA is developing a fully immersive system that allows JTAC-qualified personnel to train for complex missions in a simulated and controlled environment to include both the JTC TRS and Joint Theater Air-Ground Simulation System (JTAGSS) into a single program.

Poseidon MRA1 training support services, Royal Air Force, CAE UK: Provides a range of instructors and console operators to support the delivery of training. The Boeing P-8A, designated the Poseidon MRA1 for the RAF, is a multi-role Maritime Patrol Aircraft designed for Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Surface Unit Warfare, surveillance and search and rescue missions. A significant portion of the pilot training will occur in the two Poseidon Operational Flight Trainers (OFTs) jointly developed by CAE and Boeing.

USSOCOM Mission Command System, CAE USA: CAE was selected by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to lead integration and architecture development efforts under a program called Mission Command System/Common Operational Picture (MCS/COP). The scalable next-generation Mission Command System will unify the Special Operations Forces (SOF) Global Situational Awareness enterprise through the creation of an integrated common operational picture, which will deliver enhanced and improved global situational awareness.

CAE Adaptive 1553 IDS, IDEaS, Canada: CAE Operational Systems and ISS was awarded a contract to pursue the development of a cyber-based Intrusion Detection System for platforms using MIL-STD-1553 communication protocol following a successful proof of concept and leverage expertise in operational Avionics, Embedded Cybersecurity and Machine Learning (ML)

 

Duncan McSporran
Kognitiv Spark 

We are having great success in several industries including the defence sector, healthcare and the industrial sector. Re-prioritisation and changing work practices has led to companies and defence organisations developing and adopting novel but enduring delivery methodologies to meet their needs. These different methodologies are opening doors and, in some circumstances, removing barriers so demand can be met regardless of whether it is done in person or through the use of immersive tech. As decision makers gain more exposure to the technologies, their understanding increases and in turn adoption rates are climbing. This has not happened overnight and not all organizations are committed – but the value proposition for the use of Mixed Reality in particular is very clear and the Return on Investment (RoI) is leading to significant incentives and an increased understanding of why the tech has to be on the roadmaps for many companies and organisations.

 

Jean-Claude Siew
Bluedrop Training & Simulation

Bluedrop has been successful with its state-of-the-art Hoist Mission Training System (HMTS) which provide high-fidelity simulation and full cable haptics for hoist operators. The HMTS uses latest VR/MR technologies and can be connected to flight training devices or gunnery systems for collective training. Bluedrop has recently delivered a HMTS in Albuquerque, for the Blackhawk HH-60W which is the new Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) for the US Air Force . Earlier in the year Bluedrop delivered a CV-22 Rear crew training including hoist, gunnery and ramp operation training capabilities. Bluedrop also delivered a HMTS for the S-92 at Cougar Helicopters and connected it to a CAE-built S-92 Full Flight Simulator.

In Orlando, Bluedrop USA is engaged on providing courseware services for large US programs and provides Sim-As-A-Service training to civilian hoist operators in the newly installed HMTS.

From a market perspective, we expect continued growth in Canada based on large upcoming programs whereas as we expect additional growth in the US and in Europe due to on-going instability worldwide.

 

Emily Smits
Modest Tree

Modest Tree has operated within the defence sector globally since 2011, providing software and solutions for training, simulations and digital field service technologies to defence agencies and the contractors who serve defence to address current and future sustainment challenges with emerging technologies.

Modest Tree was recently awarded a contract by the United States Space Force (USSF) – a division of the U.S. Armed Forces through Space Launch Delta 45. The contract will address the U.S. Department of Defense’s interest in a 3-D/Virtual Reality system to identify any issues and help mechanics’ proficiencies when servicing vehicles at the 45th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Maintenance centre. The 3-D/Virtual Reality system will be delivered with Modest Tree’s Tech Companion software and was awarded through participation in the Space Launch Delta 45 Pitch Day.

Modest Tree has been involved in providing simulations and training solutions in support of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Defense and the OEMs that serve them need new sustainment technologies to address the challenges that they are currently facing. Digital Field Service technologies offer Defense agencies and the contractors who serve Defense an opportunity to act now to address current and future sustainment challenges with emerging technologies. Digital Field Services provide personnel with a steady increase in competency from 3D remote training, work instructions, and remote-support, lessening the need for on-site maintenance technicians in dangerous locations.

 

Didier Toussaint
Top Aces

Top Aces continues to export high-performance airborne combat training globally, on the pillars of affordable innovative threat representative capabilities, and Canada’s continued airworthiness regulatory framework specifically designed to oversee commercial operations of ex-military fighter aircraft. Top Aces has exported airborne combat training internationally to Germany, Australia and the U.S.A., with other prospects on the horizon. The demand for more efficient training is increasing. The rising operating cost per flight hour of modern front-line combat aircraft means fewer aircraft are procured, and hence every live fly training hour is critical. A recent U.S.A. study on using contracted airborne training services recognized a corresponding surge in operational readiness and effectiveness while simultaneously saving operational resources. The demand for our 4th generation F-16 AAF is expected to be significant in Tier 1 Air Forces, while the A-4N AAF continues to provide a less costly and highly effective adversary training option for Air Forces over the next decade. Combining and networking the two platforms together will provide even more efficient training scenarios.

 

Jay Ballard
Calian Group Limited

Integrated Solutions: We have seen significant interest in Canada and NATO with our ‘Road to War’ (RTW) demonstration. This demonstration shows how our tool suites interact seamlessly with each other which makes the demonstration simulation systems work together. Quite honestly, we are simulation agnostic as our tools can be configured for any customer’s current simulation systems to make them work together. The RTW demo shows how an inject enters the simulated environment in one simulation, such as a helicopter attacking a convoy of armoured vehicles in one simulation. This effect is then passed to another simulation system via VCCI that “kills” those vehicles and then our tools ensure that status change is passed to a battle management system to reflect the change in status of those forces. All the while capturing this data in Aramis to be used in an after-action review. This demonstration shows how Calian tools provide a gateway for incompatible simulation systems to interact with each other in real time and reflect the training audience’s inputs. Customers and potential customers have both been impressed with how these technologies interact to give a seamless training experience from tactical commanders to the highest headquarters level.

VR/AR: The virtual reality and augmented reality experience has been very well received in the defence space and civil space. Using the Microsoft HoloLens technology, Calian is presenting solutions for individual-level training for defence applications like replenishment-at-sea for sailors and joint terminal attack controllers (JTAC) for calling joint fires. The same technology has application for civil training in skilled trades for hydro workers and hazmat transportation and delivery. The VR/AR experience is incredibly versatile, and really only limited by the ingenuity of the development team.

           

Abir Kazan
SkyAlyne

SkyAlyne is a brand-new entity formed to bid on the FAcT Program, however SkyAlyne’s prime and subcontractors including CAE, KF Aerospace, Lockheed Martin Canada, PAL Aerospace, Canadian Base Operators, Bluedrop Training, & Simulation, Serco Canada and Canadian Helicopters – have extensive experience in training and simulation in Canada, some dating back to WWII and the British Air Commonwealth Training Program.

FAcT is a comprehensive military pilot and aircrew training program. SkyAlyne is bidding to manage all elements of the program, from live flying training to airworthiness to simulation training to site services and support.

 

Gabe Batstone
Contextere / Blue Collar AI

Contextere’s flagship software product, Madison, is an insight engine designed to maximize the effectiveness and safety of maintenance, repair, and operation technicians. Our partners in the United States, Western Europe, and Australia have been addressing skilled labour shortages and productivity loss in their workforces since the onset of the pandemic. Military and Industry have been looking for methods to boost employee retention and accelerate time to proficiency. Contextualization and curation of information is a key interest in all partners.

We are seeing a strong trend towards autonomous maintenance which is empowering front line

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