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Calytrix lands US fighter deal

PERTH company Calytrix has been awarded a contract to study the simulation technologies for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project.

Calytrix CEO Mark Rheinlander said the contract was small in dollar terms but offered a “foot in the door” with JSF developer Lockheed Martin.

“Lockheed Martin have certainly intimated that they would like to do more work with us,” he said.

Calytrix will lead the Industry Capability Team – including Adacel, Agent Oriented Software, BAE Systems Australia, Boeing Australia, Raytheon Australia and Tenix – that will examine the issues surrounding the development of training systems for the project.

It is the only Western Australian company out of the five Australian companies to have secured contracts with the US fighter project to date.

Mr Rheinlander said simulators would be used throughout the project for things such as pilot training and logistics support planning.

“The unique things they want to do with the training simulator is to have it small enough to be put into a shipping container and put on the back of a truck; to be able to reuse a lot of software they are already using; for the simulators to be able to be networked; and for the simulators to be accessed remotely,” Mr Rheinlander said.

“Those needs have created a number of problems from a software point of view. We’ll be identifying those issues for Lockheed Martin.”

The study is expected to be completed in February 2004.

Mr Rheinlander said Calytrix’s business revolved around software tools and its main tool was a product called SIMplicity.

“Simulation is our first market,” Mr Rheinlander said.

Calytrix opened its doors in 2001 and received a $500,000 R&D Start Grant from the Federal Government and Building On IT Strengths seed capital from business incubator Entrepreneurs in Residence.

Mr Rheinlander said the company had decided to shun the venture capital market and concentrate on organic growth.

“The economics of the venture market don’t suit us at the moment,” he said.

“We’ll go looking for market development capital rather than start up capital.”

Mr Rheinlander said the company had to cut its staff when it decided not to pursue the venture capital route.

It now has seven software engineers, down from a high of around 13.

“We scaled back our operations to set up our US office,” Mr Rheinlander said.

“We’re expecting that office to become self funding by the end of the year.”

The Federal Government has committed up to $US150 million into the System Development and Demonstration phase of the JSF project that runs until 2012 and, as a result, received an undertaking that Australian companies would secure some of the projects.

The JSF is expected to replace several aircraft in the US arsenal and provide a replacement for Australia’s ageing F111 strike aircraft and F/A18 Hornets.

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