Continuing to innovate and lead the pack in terms of integrated training solutions for the challenges in military pilot training that often seem intractable, CAE is launching the TRAX Academy on the first day of I/ITSEC 2019, 2 December. Immediately prior to the show, MTSC caught up with Philippe Perey, the company’s Head of Technology for Defence and Security, who helps put the launch in perspective.
“It’s important to recognize this is a natural outgrowth from our Project Digital Intelligence, which we launched last year – a commitment to putting C$1 billion (€670 million) over five years. It’s not the first result from the project – the launch of RISE [Real-time Insights and Standardised Evaluations] for military aircrew training and increasing use of Big Data have also come partially from here – but it is a major step forward, in our view. TRAX Academy is about the entire continuum of training – enabling students to prove and improve their skills,” Perey told MTSC.
TRAX Academy is a comprehensive and integrated suite of digital learning tools and training media designed to streamline pilot throughput from the start of undergraduate pilot training. First, student pilots use digital tools such as a mobile app and virtual reality (VR)-enabled courseware to learn and understand required training tasks and procedures. Next, students practice what was learned in the CAE SPRINT VR training device. Uniquely, the CAE SPRINT VR trainer includes the CAE virtual coach to provide immediate and actionable instruction, as well as CAE RISE to assess progress and measure achievement in mastering the required task or procedure. Finally, students perform what they practiced and demonstrate proficiency in a higher-fidelity simulator, which also leverages CAE RISE to help the instructor validate student progress.
The SPRINT VR trainer, an integral part of the CAE TRAX Academy, is also being launched today. It enables self-paced learning in an immersive, high-fidelity virtual environment and comes complete with virtual reality headset, haptics, physical flight controls, CAE MEDALLION image generator, and CAE virtual coach, in addition to leveraging CAE RISE for objective grading and assessment.
“Global militaries are faced with a current and growing challenge to produce pilots faster and more efficiently without impacting the quality standards that military pilot training has become known for,” said Joe Armstrong, Vice President, Global Business Operations – Product & Solutions, CAE. “Today’s digital technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence and data analytics are enabling a new approach to pilot training that is more self-paced and tailored to student learning. As a leading training systems integrator, the CAE TRAX Academy is CAE’s answer to redefining how military student pilots learn, practice and then perform on the journey to becoming a pilot.”
That statement encapsulates the CAE approach to new and effective solutions for the problems being created by demographics, career development issues and the global shortage of pilots that is now beginning to bite – to say nothing of the cultural attitudes to military service that are in flux in a number of developed nations. “The customer pull and excitement [over TRAX and SPRINT] is unprecedented and phenomenal,” Perey revealed to MTSC. He had a lot more to say on the development of the programme, which MTSC will deal with in greater depth after I/ITSEC and after having taken the opportunity to see the programme in action.