Contract upgrades air combat training

The Air Force recently awarded a contract valued at about $40 million to Cubic Defense Systems Inc. to provide nine Air Force and Air National Guard facilities with autonomous air combat training capability.

Under the contract, the Air Force will receive:

* Deployable ground stations for PC-based debriefing stations. The stations will include Cubic's new Individual Combat Aircrew Display System (ICADS), which lets pilots review training missions on commercially available PCs or laptop computers in a Microsoft Corp. Windows environment, said Don Jacobs, director of the company's training systems programs.

* Refurbished airborne instrumentation "pods" — mobile monitoring devices mounted on aircraft that collect in-flight data and transmit information for real-time monitoring and post-mission debriefings. The new pods will incorporate Global Positioning System technology for precise tracking of aircraft and weapons simulations during training.

Under the contract, the pods also will be upgraded to a "rangeless" configuration, which allows for the rapid deployment of air combat training missions in any available airspace without reliance on fixed ground infrastructure.

"The autonomous system is specifically designed with portable, configurable equipment that can easily be packed and loaded for shipment to any site," Jacobs said.

The new systems will support training for F-15 and F-16 aircraft based at nine locations throughout the United States.

"The contract will be completed in stages," said Philip Fisch, Cubic's director of business development for training systems. "The first part of the contract is completing development [and] will take approximately 12 months. The production portion of the contract will be performed as orders are received. The new technology will start being used by the Air Force in early 2003."

Fisch said the Navy is another Cubic customer and will also be using the technology in the future.

Cubic, a subsidiary of San Diego-based Cubic Corp., is the prime contractor and systems integrator and is teamed with Metric Systems Corp., a subsidiary of Integrated Defense Technologies Inc. The contract was awarded Oct. 9, and Cubic announced it earlier this month, Fisch said.

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