The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a contract to CAE USA to provide aircrew training services for General Atomics-built MQ-1 Predator / MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA).

The order comes after the USAF exercised a third option as part of a $20m firm-fixed-price contract that was awarded to CAE in August 2013.

Scheduled to be completed by 30 September 2018, the original contract had a one-year base year and approximately four one-year options.

Under the contract option, CAE will provide classroom, simulator, and live flying instruction, as well as courseware development and training for MQ-1 / MQ-9 Predator / Reaper aircrews.

The company receives more than 1,500 pilots and sensor operators who train annually at Holloman Air Force Base (AFB), New Mexico; Creech AFB, Nevada; March Air Reserve Base, California; and Hancock Air National Guard Base, New York, US.

CAE Group Defence & Security president Gene Colabatistto said: "Our large installed base of existing training devices and simulation systems provide ongoing upgrade and update opportunities along with long-term service and support business.

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"We are pleased to continue our support of the US Air Force as their training partner on the MQ-1 Predator / MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft, which is the world's largest RPA training programme."

"The company has announced that it won contracts to perform major updates and upgrades to the US Navy's suite of MH-60S Sierra and MH-60R Romeo training systems."

Additionally, the company has announced that it won contracts to perform major updates and upgrades to the US Navy's suite of MH-60S Sierra and MH-60R Romeo training systems, including tactical operational flight trainers and weapons tactics trainers.

The company will also provide the latest generation CAE GESI command and staff training system to the Austrian Armed Forces to enhance the command and staff training provided to military and civil commanders.

The total value of the three defence contracts amounts to more than C$120m.

Image: MQ-9 Reaper taxis down on an Afghan runway. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson.