The competition between two simulation systems
providers, Israel Aerospace Industries and the US based Cubic
Defense Applications (the defense segment of Cubic Corporation
(AMEX: CUB) is heating again over the vast Asian airspace, as
both companies are tapping the growing demand for air combat
training, resulting from the modernization and expansion of
air forces throughout the region. Until recently, only Israeli
systems were available for Asian Air Forces, but recently, with
the introduction of a rangeless system by Cubic, Asian air forces
have several options to chose from. Cubic's first success in
the region was reported earlier in 2007, as it announced the
first order for an instrumented air combat training system for
the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) worth nearly $10 million.
10 months later, Cubic scored another sale, this time in Thailand.
Airspace restrictions were the main reason for Singapore follow
the rangeless ACMI route in the 1990s when Singapore acquired
some 95 pods. Another user of the system was India, deploying
a number of ACMI systems with its Tactics and Combat Development
and Training Establishment (TACDE). Thailand was also one of
the early users of Israeli ACMI systems in Asia. Cubic made
the first installation of its rangeless ACMI system in Asia
in 2004, equipping the US Air Force base in Kadena, Japan. More
system were fielded later with U.S. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)
at Misawa in Japan, and in Osan and Kunsan bases in South Korea.
The Royal Australian Air Force operates the system at Williamtown,
New South Wales, and another nation in the region has also recently
acquired a Cubic system. Another system was recently delivered
by Cubic to the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, and will soon
be operational at Komatsu Air Base in central Japan. The new
system also includes Cubic’s Individual Combat Aircrew
Display System, (ICADS), used in nine nations throughout the
world for ACMI debriefs.
Earlier this month Cubic announced the award of a contract
by the Royal Thai Air Force, for the supply of ACMI system worth
$10 million. The program will equip two Thai air bases in Korat
and Takhli will the "rangeless" systems by March 2009;
Both bases are located in Central Thailand. The Thai Air Force
already employs an earlier version of the Israeli EHUD systems.
"This sale makes it possible for various Pacific Rim nations
to conduct joint instrumented training using state-of-the-art
technology, since all these systems are interoperable,"
remarked Philip J. Fisch, senior director of Business Development
for Air Ranges for Cubic Defense Applications. Cubic's P5 rangeless
ACMI system consists of GPS-based instrumentation pods and ground
systems. The pods monitor all maneuvers in real time and provide
live feedback to pilots during training. The real-time monitor
capabilities allow the training to be viewed at the bases. In
addition, all the training exercise data is recorded for post-mission
debrief and analysis.
Enhancing Air Combat Training Experience
Cubic first developed the Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation
system (ACMI) in 1971 following the US Navy requirement for
improved pilot training, a lesson learned during earlier in
the dogfights over North Vietnam. The initial Cubic system used
eight ground sites to track the airspeed and manoeuvres of as
many as eight aircraft, each outfitted with externally mounted
pods. The system also tracked simulated missile firings, recording
hits and misses, which allowed the combat instructors to review
the sorties in the post flight debriefs.
The Rangeless ACMI was developed in Israel, pioneered by BVR
about 15 years later, evolving after two Israeli F-15s collided
over the IAF air combat training range. Following this tragedy
the Israel Air Force considered ways to improve flight safety
over the crowded air combat training range, without degrading
the pilot's maneuvering. At that time, the introduction of GPS
navigation capability made the ground based range redundant.
BVR Technologies was first to develop rangeless system called
EHUD, after one implemented it in the IAF service. With onboard
navigation and direct link to the aircraft avionics and weapons,
EHUD establishes real-time training capabilities with operational
combat aircraft and dedicated trainers. The system manages,
tracks and recreates complex air combat, air-to-ground weapon
and ground-to-air engagements for in-flight combat simulation
and post mission debriefing. It can also introduce virtual targets
and weapons to enhance training experience. The system provides
the capability to monitor and control the exercise in real-time
as well as post mission debrief. The system also integrates
electronic threat and countermeasure simulation, and an innovative
mid-air and ground collision avoidance, improving the flight
safety during training missions.
The Israeli EHUD system became very popular in Europe, where
it provides the standard air combat training for the NATO Flight
School as well as France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Portugal,
The Netherlands, England and NATO Flight School. Indications
on IAI's success in Asia surfaced recently, as IAI reported
two recent orders from customers in Asia.
For the future, Cubic positioned itself a step ahead of the
competition winning the embedded training system for the Lockheed
Martin's F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). This
system will nbe interoperable with Cubic's current pod-based
P5 system and allow JSF pilots to simulate training exercises
even after the aircraft has been deployed to other air bases.
The avionic module will weigh about 30 lbs and be removed from
the aircraft if needed. The JSF is due to replace a multitude
of aircraft used by the United States, United Kingdom, Australia,
Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, Singapore
Asian ACMI Wins for IAI, BVR
Israel Aerospace Industries' MLM Division announced the reception
of two orders for its EHUD Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation
(ACMI) Systems. Both sales were to Asian countries and are value
at about US$41 Million. One of the customers will use EHUD systems
to train pilots and local air defense systems. For this program,
MLM offered its latest Air Defense Training System (ADTS) version
of EHUD. These new pods introduce advanced applications, allowing
users to conduct simultaneous training of pilots performing
Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) missions and personnel
engaged in Anti-Aircraft interception with anti-aircraft guns
and missile sites. IAI is the prime contractor for this $25
million program, with BVR Technologies acting as the main subcontractor.
BVR is the prime contractor for the second sale worth $19.5
million. also to an undisclosed customer. This sale is an enhancement
of existing fleet of EHUD systems previously supplied by BVR,
augmenting the customer's current capabilities with the new
version. IAI/MLM will act as subcontractor to BVR on this program.
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