The 1960s began with the award of two milestone contracts. The first was a military contract from the Canadian government for six F-104 Starfighter simulators. The F-104 program was the company's first experience with radar land mass simulation and the incorporation of a visual system, a motion system and a compact mission recorder. Within a five year span 26 additional units had be purchased by five other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries.
CAE's second milestone contract came from Trans Canada Pipelines for the development and installation of the world's first solid state supervisory control and telemetry system for a natural gas pipeline.
CAE formed a dedicated group to develop compensators in MAD systems used for anti submarine warfare. The company quickly became a recognized leader in the field with the introduction of an Automatic Permanent Magnetic Compensator capable of counterbalancing magnetic interference fields found in patrol aircraft.
CAE Elektronik GmbH in Stolberg, West Germany, was established to maintain company-built F-104 simulators delivered in Europe. Today this division provides maintenance, repair, overhaul and modification services for military flight simulators, and designs and builds sophisticated maintenance training aids for complex aircraft systems. CAE G, as the division is now known, also designs and manufactures communication equipment and systems for computer related telecommunications services, which are sold to government agencies throughout Western Europe.
This year marked a major turn for the company, with a decision to change from analog to digital technology and to aggressively pursue commercial simulation business. Up until now CAE had secured prime contracts on the military front, however the growth opportunities in commercial flight meant an entirely new opportunity for expansion.
1963 to 1965
In 1963 the directors of Canadian Aviation Electronics Ltd. established a holding and management company named CAE Industries Ltd. to more accurately reflect the company's interests in expanding into other types of industry. CAE's expansion saw the acquisition of several companies, including: Northwest Industries Limited (commercial and military aircraft repair and overhaul), Canadian Bronze Company Limited, CAE Machinery Ltd. and USP Industries Inc.
For the first year CAE Industries Ltd. operated out of the St-Laurent plant. In 1964 it's offices were transferred to the Place Ville-Marie complex in Montreal's city core. In 1976, it moved in The Royal Bank Building in downtown Toronto.
These years also saw CAE receive its first digital flight simulator order from Swissair. Shortly thereafter, Canadian Pacific Airlines, Air Canada and KLM ordered similar units from the company's rapidly expanding DC-8 and DC-9 simulation line.
Not to be left by the wayside, military flight and mission simulators also saw increased sales during this period with the RCAF becoming a prime customer for CAE's CP-107 Argus fully-integrated tactical anti-submarine mission aircraft. By 1965 the production and sale of flight simulators would account for 40% of all company activity.
The company's newly minted and aggressively marketed Supervisory Control Systems were ordered by three different hydro utilities. Notably, CAE's milestone contract with Hydro Québec contract lead to the development of CAE's Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system for power utilities and the DATAPATH® trademark. Born as a direct outgrowth of the company's expertise in flight simulation and its success at the beginning of the decade with its contract with Trans Canada Pipelines, CAE's SCADA systems began to be noticed by gas, oil and hydroelectric companies around the world and further milestone contracts were yet to come.
1967 to 1968
This period was highlighted by CAE's first simulator sale to an aircraft manufacturer in the United States - an L-1011 for Lockheed. The company also broke new ground by implementing its newly designed 6 degree of freedom motion system on a KLM Boeing 747 simulator.
By 1968 the simulation field was making advances in two main areas. CAE pioneered the use of CRT displays in instructor stations, which greatly reduced the operator's workload. Visual systems, which used a TV camera to scan a scaled down model of an airport and its surrounding area, were also being developed.
During this period the company continued to break new ground in the SCADA field. Getty Oil of Bakersfield, California ordered a SCADA system to monitor the production of over 2,000 oil wells and the operation of more than 100 steam generators. This was CAE's first SCADA system to incorporate a general purpose digital computer.
In avionics, the company made advances by refining its MAD compensator from 3 terms to 9 terms. The system's success was reflected by the U.S. Navy's request to install the new compensators on their P 3C and S 2A aircraft. Over the span of the coming 10 years, CAE would deliver over 700 such operational units to the U.S. and other nations.
Simulation technology was applied to a Boeing Vertol CH 47C helicopter for the Tactical Aircraft Guidance System (TAGS) contract. The goal of the TAGS program was to develop a control system, which would simplify the task of flying helicopters, and improve flight stability. When successfully completed in 1973, this joint U.S./Canadian project led to spin-offs such as helicopter simulators and the application of hand controller technology for the CAE-designed and built Canadarm Remote Manipulator System (RMS) in NASA's space shuttle program.