With scores of local jobs at stake, Cubic Corp.'s Orlando unit has won a deal potentially worth $112 million to produce training and simulation systems for an advanced Navy craft known as the Littoral Combat Ship, officials said Wednesday.
The local unit of San Diego-based Cubic Defense Systems and its team beat several rivals to win the Mission Bay Trainer contract, which will provide hands-on simulation systems to train ship personnel in managing the ship's tactical mission-equipment cargo bay.
Cubic and its subcontractors — including Lockheed Martin Corp.'s Orlando training operation — will design and produce the simulators in Orlando. Eventually, the systems will be deployed at Navy training facilities in San Diego, Calif., and Mayport, Fla.
Cubic made the announcement at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference, the country's largest military-training trade show, which concludes Thursday in Orlando.
Amid the military budget cutbacks, the Mission Bay Trainer contract award was an important milestone for the simulation and training industry. Originally scheduled for late summer, the award was delayed in part by the recent government shutdown.
Mission Bay is the second major award this year for Cubic related to the advanced warship, which is designed for high-speed coastal, or littoral, missions such as anti-terrorism, anti-piracy and urban warfare.
In January, Cubic won a trio of contracts, potentially worth $300 million, to produce across-the-board computer-based training and classroom instruction for operating the warship. Cubic said as many as 700 local jobs could be tied to work over several years.
Cubic expects the latest contract win to increase its hiring in Central Florida. As many as 30 new jobs will be filled in coming months and scores of additional positions over the next two years, according to Bill Rebarick, deputy general manager of Cubic's advanced learning systems unit in Orlando.
Generally, jobs tied to the Mission Bay deal will involve simulator-hardware engineering, while the contract awarded in January for computer-based classroom systems involves software, video-game and visual engineering, he said.
"We have about 125 people on staff right now, and while our manpower needs are hard to predict, we will almost certainly be twice as big by this time next year," Rebarick said.
Michael Blades, a defense industry expert with the Frost & Sullivan consulting firm, said Cubic's teaming with Lockheed played a key role in the win. Cubic and Lockheed had been rivals for the earlier $300 million deal.
"The clout and training experience of Cubic and Lockheed Martin, as a team, allows them to utilize efficiencies and synergies to provide the necessary training at a competitive cost," Blades said. "Obviously, that cost was less than other bidders."
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