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1980s - Meeting the challenge 

In this decade, CAE expanded its international markets to the point of exporting approximately 85% of all production. Power simulators were sold for the first time in the U.S., while SCADA systems made their debut in China and Venezuela. Integrated Machinery Control Systems (IMCS) for naval vessels were introduced and sold in Canada and in the United States. 


Among the 11 commercial flight simulator orders received, those from Eastern Airlines, Malaysian Airlines Systems, Korean Airlines, Lufthansa, and Piedmont Airlines (now USAir) were for first-time customers. Notably, Lufthansa's A310 contract accorded CAE the prestige of being the only simulator manufacturer with experience in all three types of 'glass cockpit' aircraft, the other being Boeing's 757 and 767 models. 


In the commercial simulator business three contracts were signed. Aeromexico became a new customer with an order jointly placed with Mexicana for a DC-10 series 15 simulator. One of the year's highlights was the introduction of a CAE-built weather radar simulator in a United Airlines Boeing 727 simulator. This device enabled crews to recognize storm patterns and to develop avoidance actions. 

CAE's military flight simulator section received a contract from the Italian Army to develop and manufacture a complex of four Ab 205 helicopter simulators. The company was also awarded a major contract from the Canadian Armed Forces for three CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft simulators. These highly advanced trainers required extensive development of new technology, particularly in the emulation of the many on-board computers. One of the simulators is stationed in Germany, and the other two in Canada. The simulator in Cold Lake, Alberta, was integrated with an innovative dome visual system. 

CAE also received a contract from the Canadian and American governments to develop a Fiber Optic Helmet Mounted visual Display (FOHMD) system for simulation applications. Because it incorporated fiber optics, CAE's helmet-mounted display produced brighter, full-color pictures, and a wider field-of-view than previous models which used black and white CRTs. Rockwell International and the U.S. Army each purchased CAE's new FOHMD system.

Work on the space program continued and CAE received an order from NASA for three additional RMS control systems. 


The year's highlight resulted when CAE's Boeing 727 simulator for United Airlines became the world's first commercial simulator to receive the new FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Phase III approval. This certification entitles the user to conduct initial, transition, and recurrency training of flight crews entirely via simulation.

The company won four simulator and three motion system contracts. New military business was awarded by the CF for a C-130H simulator and by the Royal Netherlands Navy for a P-3C maritime patrol Operating Flight Trainer (OFT).

In the avionics field, a total of 172 magnetic compensators were sold to the Canadian Armed Forces and U.S. Navy.

The company's nuclear power plant simulators were gaining recognition. As a result, Ontario Hydro joined forces with CAE to market the simulators to power utilities around the world. Before the year's end, Venezuela had ordered a SCADA system for their Guri hydroelectric power plant and Ontario Hydro had purchased a power plant simulator for their Pickering 'B' plant.


Two major achievements in commercial aviation became this year's highlight. CAE became the first company to deliver an FAA approved flight simulator (Boeing 757 for Eastern Airlines) prior to that aircraft's certification. CAE was also first to manufacture a commercial simulator with digital control-loading and digital motion. 

CAE's control systems broadened their horizon with a contract from the Canadian Department of National Defense to develop the Shipboard Integrated Machinery Control System (SHINMACS). This system featured 'glass control rooms' and has a distributed system architecture. The system was used to control and monitor a ship's propulsion, ancillary and auxiliary machinery as well as its electrical generation an distribution system. As evidence of the program's success, six Integrated Machinery Control Systems were later ordered for installation in the Canadian Navy's Patrol Frigates. 

Ontario Hydro once again selected CAE to manufacture power plant simulators for their Bruce 'B' nuclear generating stations. 


Commercial simulator sales picked up with the signing of seven contracts. Alitalia's Boeing 747-200 simulator was that airline's first order to be placed with CAE. 

On the military side, six C-5B weapon system trainers were purchased by United Airlines Services Corporation for the USAF. Up to this point in time, this represented the largest single order for flight simulators ever placed with CAE. A unique project was also initiated by the Singapore Air Force with orders for A-4S and F-5E full flight simulators. This customer also purchased an air combat simulator complex consisting of two 30-foot diameter domes, each containing a generic fighter cockpit. The CAE-designed sky-earth projection system delivered the capability of handling two individual target models. The targets could represent the aircraft in the opposing dome, or a selection of computer and instructor-controlled aircraft types including a variable skill level 'intelligent' target. 

CAE entered the U.S. power plant simulator market with a sale to Boston Edison Company for their Pilgrim plant. Two systems were also purchased by Florida Power and Light Company for their St. Lucie and Turkey Point plants. 

The American-bought simulators were the first Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) and Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) simulators to be built by CAE. A CANDU power plant simulator was also purchased by Ontario Hydro for their Darlington 'A' plant, making it the fifth simulator ordered by that utility. 

In the MAD field, the company maintained its position as world leader by introducing the Advanced Integrated MAD System (AIMS) for fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. CAE's AIMS is the only in-board system that is fully proven and in production. A first order for 36 units was placed by Grumman for installation in S-2s; shortly following, Sikorsky purchased 19 units to be installed on S-70 helicopters for use by the Australian Navy. 


Of the 15 commercial simulator contracts awarded in 1985, those signed by Trans Australian Airlines (now Australian Airlines) and by China Airlines marked CAE's penetration of two new geographic markets. Other new customers included Alia and the Boeing Aircraft Company. 

A Crew Station Research Development Facility (CSRDF) was ordered by NASA's Ames Research centre and the U.S. Army. The simulator, used to study crew and cockpit configurations of the U.S. Army's LHX helicopter, was equipped with an FOHMD, multi-color touchscreen CRTs and a 4-axis sidearm controller. Another contract was awarded by the Canadian government, who required a Weapons System Software Unit (WSSU) for installation at Cold Lake to support validation of the CF-18 aircraft avionics and software changes. Canadair ordered a second WSSU in 1987 for installation at their CF-18 Systems Engineering Software (SES) contract facility. 

The year also marked CAE's debut as a team member of the Canadian Space Station Program. The company's responsibilities included the robotics simulation systems and space-based control stations for the Mobile Servicing centre for use on the U.S. Space Station, Freedom. 


CAE signed 12 commercial simulator contracts and attracted USAir as a new customer. KLM also purchased a full flight simulator for Boeing's new 747-400 aircraft. This represented the eighth time since 1964 KLM had commissioned CAE to provide them with a simulator. 

The Royal Netherlands Navy (RNN) bought a full-mission flight trainer for the Lynx helicopter to be used by four different countries: Holland, Germany, Denmark and Norway. This was the first simulator to incorporate CAE's blade-element rotor model, a software package that simulates the rotor and its associated components. The RNN also awarded CAE a contract to develop a P-3C Operational Tactics Trainer (OTT). On this project, CAE built an acoustic signal generator and a database management system to satisfy the navy's needs for a flexible training device. 

CAE won a portion of the SES contract for the Canadian government's CF-18 program. This contract called for CAE to provide modifications to the aircraft's simulators, avionics equipment and its associated software, as well as to the automatic test equipment. 

Control systems did very well with contracts for two SCADA systems. Contracts were also secured for an Energy Management System (EMS), three power plant simulators, and four machinery control systems. SCADA systems were sold in China for the Gezhouba hydro-electric power plant, and in the United States for the Grand Coulee Dam. CAE's first EMS was ordered by the Public Service Electric and Gas Utility in New Jersey. SCADA and EMS systems collect and analyze data and provide controls to optimize effective management of electric power generation and transmission facilities. Power plant simulators were sold to Hydro-Quebec and to the American companies Toledo Edison and Florida Power Corporation. The four machinery control systems were awarded by subcontract from Pratt & Whitney Canada for the navy's Tribal Class Update and Modernization Program (TRUMP). 


Of the eight commercial simulator orders received, two were from new customers: Braathens and Sabena. Lufthansa, a repeat customer, purchased a simulator for their Airbus A320. 

On the military side, the Turkish Ministry of Defense purchased four UH-1H helicopter simulators, and the U.S. Army ordered a research Simulation Complexity Test Bed (SCTB) with two FOHMD visual systems. A military subcontract was also awarded from Oerlikon Aerospace Inc. to develop and install a Mobile Crew Station Trainer, a Crew Station Trainer and six Tactical Unit Trainers for the CF's Low Level Air Defense (LLAD) program. 

CAE received a major order from the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense for 242 AIMS systems. 

The company's space program received another boost when Grumman Aerospace and Martin Marietta each ordered a 6-axis hand controller for future space-system development activities. 


CAE was successful in capturing three control systems sales. EMS systems were ordered for the Hebei Province in China, and by Grant County Public Utility District in Washington. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District purchased a power plant simulator for its Rancho Seco power plant. 

The big event of the year was CAE Industries Ltd.'s acquisition of Link Domestic Simulation And Training Systems Division, making CAE the largest supplier of commercial and military flight simulators in the world. 

Seventeen commercial flight simulators were ordered that year, accounting for over 60% of worldwide sales. New customers included McDonnell Douglas, Indian Airlines, and Aero Trasporti Italiani. Simulators for the MD-11 aircraft were purchased by McDonnell Douglas and by Swissair. 

A military contract was awarded by the Canadian Armed Forces to develop a Radar System Test Station to complement the CF-18 WSSU located at the Canadian Forces Base in Cold Lake, Alberta. 

The company received an IMCS order from Unisys (now part of Lockheed Martin) located in Reston, Virginia for the Osprey Class Minehunter MHC-51. This system was unique as it also complimented the ship's steering. A power plant simulator was also sold to The New Brunswick Electric Power Commission for the Pointe Lepreau plant. 


As of July of that year, eight flight simulators were ordered. CAE welcomed new clients into the fold: America West Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Finnair, Kuwait Airways Corp., and the RWL Flight Training centre. Simulators were also ordered by All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Lufthansa. 

Two control system contracts were signed by new clients. Manitoba Hydro ordered a SCADA system and Iceland ordered an Oceanic Flight Data Processing System (OFDPS) for the Reykjavik Area Control centre. The system's features include Conflict Prediction and Flight Path Assurance Checking enabling optimum safety and increased traffic-handling capabilities over the heavily traveled Trans-Atlantic routes.