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CAE provides initial flight training to U.S. Air Force rotary-wing pilots

June 14, 2023  By Helicopters Staff

CAE on June 13 announced that CAE Defense & Security has been awarded the U.S. Air Force Rotary Wing Introductory Flight Training (IFT-R) contract to support the Air Education and Training Command (AETC). The contract provides flight training to USAF student pilots as part of the Helicopter Training Next program.

The US$44.5M initial contract award supports the training of all initial USAF rotary-wing air, ground, and simulation training. The program extends through 2033 with a maximum value of US$110.6 million over the total contract term. The introductory training will be conducted at the CAE Dothan Training Center in Dothan, AL, which is also home to the U.S. Army Fixed-Wing Training Services program.

“This significant initial flight training program is part of CAE’s continued collaboration with the USAF to improve safety and training efficiency for the next generation of rotary wing pilots,” said Daniel Gelston, President, CAE Defense & Security. “We continue to enhance training and mission readiness for our Department of Defense (DoD) customers by leveraging the expertise of our industry partners with CAE’s decades of global training experience.”

The IFT-R training program will be implemented by CAE using a fleet of Bell 505 Jet Ranger X aircraft specifically configured for AETC’s initial USAF helicopter training. The IFT-R Ground Based Training System leverages advanced simulation and interactive media providing Next-Generation rotary wing training to future aviators.


CAE explains it will work in collaboration with industry leaders to prepare USAF rotary-wing student pilots for their follow-on training in the Helicopter Training Next pipeline. The team includes Bell Textron, Alpha 1, and Navigator Development Group Inc. working together to support flying operations, training simulation, academics, and more.

The IFT-R program is one of several programs in which CAE is supporting rotary wing aviation in the region. The Army Advanced Helicopter Flight Training Services at Fort Novosel, Alamaba, was awarded to CAE in 2020 providing classroom, simulator, and live flying instructor support services for the CH-47 Chinook, UH-60 Black Hawk, and AH-64 Apache helicopters.

In 2023, CAE was also awarded a subcontract to support the U.S. Army Flight School Training Support Services at Fort Novosel to build and deliver new full flight simulators for the CH-47F and UH-60M platforms and implement software configurations for reconfigurable collective training devices.


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