UH-72A Lakota

The UH-72A Lakota, a light-utility, twin-engine aircraft, is one of the helicopters used for initial rotary-wing training at Fort Rucker.

The company that will begin Army fixed-wing flight training at the Dothan Regional Airport in a few weeks has been awarded another contract to provide rotary-wing flight training at Fort Rucker.

CAE USA announced Thursday that it had been awarded a contract to provide rotary-wing flight training instructor support services in a “cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for over $50 million,” which is for the transition period and the first year. After the first year there are eight one-year options through March 31, 2026 that would put the total contract value at over $450 million.

AECOM, which has held the rotary-wing flight training contract at Fort Rucker since 1989, and another bidder have filed a challenge to CAE being awarded the contract for rotary-wing flight training, according to CAE spokesperson Chris Stellwag. A review of the challenge is expected to take about 100 days.

If CAE’s contract is not overturned, the company will take over the rotary-wing training program, using primarily the personal who are already doing the job.

“This contract is about the instructors,” Stellwag said.

The infrastructure is already in place at Fort Rucker and won’t require CAE to make the same investment as it did for the fixed-wing training contract at the Dothan Regional Airport, where the company built a 75,000-square-foot facility.

About 100 people will be employed by CAE for the fixed-wing training program. Another 300 will be employed for the rotary-wing training program.

“We’re proud that we will touch all Army aviators in some way, rotary and fixed wing,” Stellwag said.

Around 900 students go through the U.S. Army’s Initial Entry Rotary-Wing training program each year, where they receive classroom, simulator, and live flying training on TH-67 Creek and UH-72 Lakota helicopters.

From there, program graduates go on to train on Army frontline combat helicopters, including the UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache, or CH-47 Chinook, or transition to the fixed-wing flight training program .

CAE will be supported on the rotary-wing program by Navigator Development Group and Cardinal Point.

“We are honored the U.S. Army selected CAE once again as its training partner to support the instruction required for its new helicopter pilots,” Ray Duquette, President and General Manager at CAE, said in a prepared statement. “This is yet another example of CAE’s strategy to focus on long-term training services that leverage our training systems integration expertise.”

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