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This includes the Air Battlespace Training Centre in the United Kingdom (UK) and the 25-year Long-Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA) with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), operating several training ranges across multiple domains, and the latest generation flight simulator and human centrifuge for fighter pilots in Sweden.

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) became directly familiar with this impressive capability in 2017 when for the first time, RCAF CF-18 fighter jets connected directly to UK bases for synthetic training in Exercise RED KITE. Under RED KITE, with QinetiQ as the technical lead, air and naval forces from Canada (CA), the United States (US), the UK, and Germany (GE) conducted two weeks of virtual training, deemed a resounding success.

QCI also delivers realistic threat emulation for live training. QinetiQ Target Systems (QTS) based in Alberta and the UK, is a world-leading provider of unmanned air, land, and sea targets for live-fire training and weapon system evaluation (for more see QinetiQ Target Systems).

With that proven expertise in developing ranges for live training and simulation for training and experimentation, QCI was selected on a competitive basis to deliver the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range (CLAWR) Study for the modernization of the RCAF’s fighter aircraft training ranges, such as at CFB Cold Lake, CFB Bagotville and other secondary ranges.

Working collaboratively with the RCAF Fighter Capability Office (FCO) and other RCAF stakeholders, QCI’s CLAWR Study “road map” provides recommendations for suitable Operational Training Infrastructure (OTI) to facilitate Force Development and Force Generation activities. This is part of the RCAF’s mandate to deliver relevant advanced combat capabilities for training 4+/5th generation air forces for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) mission and in contested joint operations abroad.

QinetiQ Canada undertook an initial scoping phase, working with RCAF stakeholders, from tactical-level operators to senior leadership. This resulted in stakeholder needs, current capability levels, and modernization priorities being combined into a set of comprehensive requirements which was traceable to sources. In turn, the requirements were used to inform a Live Virtual Constructive (LVC) Enterprise Design, providing a high-level design for the modernized range. The LVC Enterprise Design fed the findings in an Enterprise Lifecycle Report. This report presented an initial roadmap of investment that DND/RCAF could embrace to meet its requirements and strategic intent, together with an outline capability operation and sustainment plan for the future enterprise. The last activity provided an enterprise-level range modernization implementation, encompassing detailed suggestions for the evolution of RCAF’s Live Synthetic Blend (LSB) capabilities, a practical set of recommendations regarding OTI security, and a developed version of the overall modernization timeline, and refined lifecycle plans. At each step, the RCAF team and QCI jointly reviewed the information provided and agreed on the direction for the next activity.

The work conducted by QCI provided a series of reports and ultimately two sets of recommendations, one for LSB capability evolution, and one for OTI modernization. These recommendations lead to and support the future Options Analysis phase of the RCAF’s plan to modernize the Air Weapons Ranges, provide information for a business case, and ultimately support the implementation with a set of traceable user requirements.

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