VICTORIA, British Columbia — A Canadian firm says a new air training contract for the Canadian military will provide it with the foundation to bid on international programs, including an upcoming one in the United Kingdom to provide air support to operational units.

Discovery Air Defence of Montreal was selected Oct. 31 by the Canadian government to provide contracted airborne training services, or CATS, for the country’s military.

Neither Discovery Air Defence nor the Canadian government provided details about the value of the contract. But industry sources say it is worth at least CAN$1 billion (U.S. $775 million).

The contract will run over an initial 10-year period, followed by the option to continue for another five years.

Discovery Air Defence will provide aircraft to the Canadian armed forces to simulate hostile threats for ground and naval forces as well as fighter pilots. The firm will also provide aircraft to tow targets and carry electronic warfare systems for various training scenarios.

Garry Venman, vice president of business development and government relations at Discovery Air Defence, said CATS provides the firm with long-term stability. “That’s good for us and it gives us a strong foundation for all the pursuits we are doing internationally,” he said.

Discovery Air Defence already provides similar services to the German and Australian militaries.

Venman said the Canadian contract is a good foundation for the company’s efforts to participate in the Air Support to Defence Operational Training program run by the British Ministry of Defence. Firms will be pre-qualified and then invited to bid on the contract in the coming year.

“They want to know whoever they provide a contract to has a track record of delivering these aircraft, have high availability, well-engineered solutions, proper air worthiness and safe operations,” he explained. “We think the Canadian program speaks volumes to that.”

Discovery Air Defence has been providing adversary air training and support for the Canadian armed forces since 2005, but only on short-term contracts.