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1990s - A decade of diversity

In the 1990s CAE capitalized on the foundation laid down by Ken Patrick in 1947. In what was arguably the company's most pivotal decade since its inception, CAE grew in stature to become the pre-eminent world leader in the science of flight and systems simulation. CAE captured 67 per cent of the commercial simulation market, 15 per cent of military, 9 per cent of energy control and power systems, and 9 per cent of MAD, space and other types of system contracts. As a result of advances made during this period, CAE became the world's leading designer and manufacturer of civil aircraft full-flight simulators, flight training devices, visual systems, computer-based trainers and computer assisted training systems. 

CAE simulators evolved and became renowned for their superior realism and accuracy in reproducing all of the operational characteristics of specific aircraft. Setting new industry standards in visual and motion systems, every situation, including all environmental conditions encountered in actual flight, were now simulated with precision and fidelity. CAE simulators now provided instructors the flexibility to select, monitor and change automated lesson plans and introduce simulated aircraft system malfunctions to ensure aircrews gain the necessary experience and proficiency needed to handle all operating conditions. 

1990 to 1991

The decade started with CAE securing a significant flight simulation milestone with the completion of the world's first MD-11 flight simulator for McDonnell Douglas Corp. This achievement was pivotal as it furthered the affirmation of CAE's position as the industry leader in flight simulation technology. As a result of this initial contract, CAE would go on to capture 11 of the 12 MD-11 flight simulator contracts up for award that year. 

In addition to supplying flight simulators representing the entire range of civil aircraft, including many regional aircraft types, CAE also emerged as a major force in military simulation. During this formative period, the company's military simulation production expanded to include a wide variety of flight, tactical and full-mission simulators for both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. These ranged from the most advanced fighters and helicopters, to heavy transport and patrol aircraft. CAE also supplied tactical simulators for anti-submarine warfare, electronic warfare, radar and other mission training applications. 

1992 to 1994

Continuing the trend for industry milestones, in 1992 CAE made dramatic strides in the field of flight simulation visuals with the introduction of the company's CAE MAXVUE' system. With its use of computer-generated imagery, CAE's MAXVUE ushered in a revolutionary new generation of display generators paving the way for today's industry-leading CAE Tropos' and CAE Atmos' systems. 

On the heels of its selection as the designer of the first MD-11 simulator, CAE was awarded a contract by Boeing to design the world's first B777 full-flight simulator for the newly introduced wide-bodied twin-jet aircraft. This project further solidified CAE's ongoing relationship with Boeing in the development of aerospace technology. 

On the power simulation front, CAE notched its first European sale of power-plant simulation equipment, landing a contract award for two full-scope fossil-fuel-fired power station simulators for the Electricity Supply Board of Dublin, Ireland. This beachhead would serve to open the door for further contracts. 

While these years were marked with several industry firsts, they were also the culmination of CAE's development of the U.S. Army's Research Institute's Simulator Complexity Testbed (SCTB). This multi-million dollar program, which was jointly funded under the U.S./Canada Defence Development Sharing Program, provided the U.S. military with the development of training methods for helicopter aircrews. 

1995 to 1996

At the mid-point of the decade CAE made history when the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) accepted delivery of the CAE-designed and developed mobile servicing system operation training simulator, better known as MOTS. With the CSA being an integral player in the construction of the international space station, CAE's MOTS would go on to serve as a vital astronaut training ground, further cementing CAE's reputation as a world leader in innovative technological solutions. 


CAE was selected to provide six full-flight simulators for the U.K. Ministry of Defence's Royal Air Force fleet of medium support helicopters. CAE and its subcontractors would build, equip, operate and finance a state-of-the-art training centre for the helicopter program for a 20-year period, with an option for an additional 20 years. The centre, currently houses simulators for Chinook, Merlin and Puma helicopters, as well as a tactical control centre to govern pilot training and simulated missions. 

1998 to 1999

The company closed out the decade by securing two of its largest marine contracts to date. One of the projects was with the U.S. Navy and entailed the development and supply of engineering control systems governing propulsion, auxiliary, electrical and battle damage control for the LPD-176 amphibious class ship. This project would continue into the new millennium. 

The other project consisted of a contract with Marconi Marine (VSEL) of England, which selected CAE to provide the controls and instrumentation for the Royal Navy's Astute Class attack submarines. With a value of $75 million the award capped off an impressive series of successes for the Marine division, which has become a leading provider of advanced automation technology. 

Other projects

The 1990s was also a decade of change and exploration for the company. 

In 1995, CAE-Link Corporation was sold to Hughes Electronics Corporation of Los Angeles for US$155 million. CAE-Link built the first AH-64 combat mission simulator, a F-117A stealth fighter simulator and operated the C-130 aircrew training system. CAE-Link was divested mainly due to the contraction in U.S. defence spending in the post-Cold War era. 

In the late 1990s, CAE's distribution management system (DMS) was sold to S.N.C. Lavalin. DMS gained a global reputation for performance, flexibility and scalability, with integrated SCADA and sophisticated network control and analysis applications. 

Also, during this period, CAE entered into two short-lived projects for which the company had high hopes. 

The first was the development of the Envirostrip'; a bio-degradable, resource-friendly paint stripping technology that made use of abrasive micro pellets for the stripping of paint from aircraft exteriors. Developed under an agreement with ADM/Ogilvie, the process was highly regarded for its environmentally conscious approach to aircraft cleaning solutions. However, it met with limited success in the marketplace and the venture was eventually abandoned.

The second was the manufacturing of artificial hearts. Officially known as the Electrohydraulic Venticular Assist Device (or EVAD), the project was a joint development between CAE and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, the developer of the device. CAE agreed to manufacture prototypes for the Institute with the aim of establishing their use as an interim transplant-bridge device designed to sustain patients waiting for donors. In spite of its noble objectives, the project failed to develop into a meaningful venture and was subsequently discontinued. 

Looking ahead

As the twentieth century drew to a close, CAE remained poised to continue its progress in the global simulation field. The company would usher in the new millennium by winning the landmark Eurofighter contract. With this contract CAE would supply 31 flight simulators of varying configurations for the new EF-2000 fighter jet. As a result, CAE's simulators would serve as trainers for fighter pilots from the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Spain.

With a number of major technological advances throughout the decade, and by continuously evaluating new hardware and software technologies, CAE continued to maintain the most sophisticated and cost effective technical simulator solutions in the business. This, along with numerous industry firsts, has kept CAE at the forefront in the evolution and delivery of superior flight and systems simulation technology. 

Continuing a legacy of excellence

During the course of the 1990s, CAE was helmed by six presidents: Byron Cavadias, Ken Hansell, Rusi Master, John Caldwell, Jim Cherry, and Derek H. Burney, who assumed the role of CAE's President and Chief Executive Officer in October 1999. Each complimented CAE's advances with their own distinct vision as the company re-defined its objectives for the new millennium. 

Since its inception, CAE has become a truly global company. From its humble beginnings in an airport hangar at Saint Hubert airport, CAE now exports 90 per cent of its products to over 50 countries and is a world-leader in numerous fields.