IFAD is playing a key role in the simulation megatrend

Image: Morten Andersen

The “I” in IFAD means “Institute” and shows that the company has a history a little different from most other. CEO and owner, Benny Graff Mortensen explains:

- In the mid-eighties the Software Engineer program on Odense Technical College were up for closure and a dozen of local businessmen founded the private IFAD, Institute For Applied Data-technology to undertake technical-scientific research and development since they feared the local labor market would run dry on software engineers.

Mr. Graff  Mortensen - at that time a teacher on the Software Engineer program - was in charge as CEO of IFAD from the start in 1997 and in 2004 he became the sole owner of the company.

NATO project was turning point

In the first years IFAD was executing R&D projects for academia and small businesses but in 1998 Boeing invited the company onboard her bid in the Joint Strike Fighter program and that got IFAD involved in defense software. Two years later the company faced a turning point:

- IFAD were invited to become a member of a NATO research program on distributed simulation. By taking part in this initiative we gained a profound knowledge on the core technologies behind simulation based training solutions, the IFAD CEO says, adding:  - With that knowledge we decided to strengthen our profile, to put all our money into this business area and since 2004 this is all we do.

Outstanding support from the navy

From the beginning in defense business IFAD has appreciated valuable support from the Danish armed forces. Shortly after joining the NATO project a dialogue with the Danish Navy was initiated and three years later the first contract on naval simulation training was awarded:

- Our cooperation with the Danish Navy is outstanding and their support are one of the main reasons we are here today, Mr. Graff Mortensen states. – Not only did they award us the first contract. The navy has also supported our activities and with backing from the navy we added vital knowledge on radio simulation one of our key businesses today.

Image: Danish armed forces

Training during deployment

In the early days, IFAD’s systems were running on distinct computer networks and only on The Naval Warfare Center in Frederikshavn, but things have changed dramatically since then. Today all the simulation is done on consumer PC’s. Next step is to connect the Warfare Training Center to the vessel’s network; then students onboard a ship can be trained while the instructor is teaching from the center or the other way around. The IFAD CEO adds:

- A long-term vision for IFAD is to provide simulation-based training onboard a ship. Such solutions will make it possible to teach personal when the ship is away, participating in international missions. 

99,6 pct. up-time

Since 2010 IFAD have also provided the Danish Army with simulation based training solutions providing both NATO accredited Forward Air Controller and simulation training. The Danish Air Force later joined as a user of the advanced IFAD solutions and are literally saving lots of money by using the DART software for pilot training. In addition IFAD as a subcontractor is running the CAE Seahawk simulator at Karup Air Base. A new kind of service that is off to a flying start: - We have an up-time on 99,6 pct. on the simulator and the customer is quite satisfied with that, Mr. Graff Mortensen smiles. 

The sky is the future

There is no doubt that IFAD with great success has found their niche in a megatrend in armed forces around the world: Simulation. The next milestone for the company is to get involved when anti submarine warfare capabilities are added to the Danish navy and air force in the coming years. In the longer run the CEO expects sky based services to be the next big thing and IFAD is a part of a NATO certified R&D project on that subject. At the end of the day all the activities in IFAD has a common goal according to Mr. Graff Mortensen:

- I want to provide the best possible simulation to our soldiers; this is the best way IFAD can support our troops.

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