CSC wins $1.1B Army helicopter contract

FRAMINGHAM (09/29/2003) - Computer Sciences Corp. has won a contract to build and maintain a new generation of advanced helicopter flight-training simulators for the U.S. Army. The deal has a potential value of US$1.1 billion over 20 years.

The contract, announced Monday by El Segundo, Calif.-based CSC, will allow the U.S. Army Aviation Center at Fort Rucker, Ala., to increase its advanced flight training for pilots, while shortening the time they are in the program, according to a military spokesman.

The contract, called Flight School XXI, will increase the number of advanced virtual flight simulators available to pilots for various models of military helicopters, while providing ongoing maintenance and support services.

CSC has worked under a similar agreement for the last six years at Fort Rucker, providing services under a joint test and evaluation contract.

The simulators are highly sophisticated units that can be used to teach helicopter flying techniques from the ground up, and they can also be used to provide combat techniques and procedures training in advanced combat helicopters, according to an Army spokesman. Each simulator is built to represent a particular model of helicopter, with an almost seamless replication of the cockpit and flight controls, as well as the flying behaviors of the aircraft, he said.

Simulators will be available for the TH-67 Creek trainer, the UH-60 Blackhawk utility chopper, the AH-64D Longbow Apache and the CH-47 Chinook helicopters, as well as other models, according to the Army.

Joining CSC in fulfilling the Flight School XXI contract are partner vendors, including FlightSafety International Inc., Link Simulation and Training, NLX Corp., Intelligent Decision Systems Inc. and Isera Group LLC.

Flushing, N.Y.-based FlightSafety will be responsible for building the TH-67 and UH-60 training simulators, while Link Simulation will build the simulators for the contract, according to a CSC spokesman. The contract will allow the Army to modernize and improve its helicopter pilot training program, he said.

According to CSC, the contract is for 12 years, with an eight-year extension period if all options are exercised. CSC won the contract over another vendor, Toronto-based CAE Inc., which was also a finalist for the award.

CAE spokeswoman Johanne Denault said her company was "very surprised" that the contract was awarded to CSC because CAE was the apparent low bidder. "Our concern was that we were the lowest bidder but still didn't win," she said. The company expects a briefing from the Army in about two weeks to learn more details about how the bid was awarded, she said.

A spokesman for the Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, which put the contract out for bids, wasn't available for comment Monday.

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