The U.S. Army has now adjudged CAE the right company to run its fixed wing training school on two occasions. At the end of a three-way contest in June 2015, CAE was selected from incumbent supplier Flightsafety International and third competitor, URS, to build and operate a new fixed wing training centre at Dothan Regional Airport in Alabama, which is near to the army’s rotorcraft school and Aviation Centre of Excellence (USAACE) at Fort Rucker.
A protest by Flightsafety International with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) following this first decision was withdrawn before the GAO announced its verdict. “We were within a week of the GAO’s decision and the protest was pulled off the table,” said Raymond Duquette, CAE’s president and general manager. “So that meant there was no protest to answer but instead they took it to the U.S. Federal Claims Court which took it up a notch.’
The Army re-examined their findings and again found that CAE and Flightsafety were the strongest. The decision on this second examination was announced in early March this year and once again found in favour of CAE. “Flightsafety then submitted another protest with the Federal Claims Court and asked for a preliminary injunction. However the judge ruled against that so we are now on contract to deliver an exclusive training solution by March 10, 2017 or earlier.”
“One of the offerings was to consolidate the entire training of ground school, simulation training and live flying in one location, which was different to the previous provider,” said Duquette. We are building two full-flight simulators for the C-12U and two ‘mother ships’ as there are three versions of the Army’s C-12.”
The Army conducts transitional training from rotorcraft in the GROB 120TP aircraft and then to the C-12 through ground school and live training. Army pilots come from operational rotorcraft crew and now a selection after initial rotary school.
“We have already purchased six GROB aircraft, the first two of which will be delivered in June this year,” said Duquette. “It is a basic primary aircraft that will be good to help pilots transition to fixed wing flying. We like the fact that students will come from the UH-72A Lakota, a turbo aircraft with digital cockpit, a go into the GROB which has the same. The C-12 all have digitised flight cockpits too.”