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A technician operates a CAE A330-200 passenger plane flight simulator at the Lufthansa Flight Training centre in Berlin.THOMAS PETER/Reuters

The federal government is providing $250-million for CAE Inc.'s latest research and development program.

The money is in the form of a repayable investment through Ottawa's Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI).

Montreal-based CAE, one of the biggest global companies in simulation, modelling and training for civil and defence aviation, said on Thursday the program – Project Innovate – will span 5 ½ years and is to develop and expand its existing modelling and simulation technologies and develop new ones.

"CAE is proud to partner with the Government of Canada for its R&D projects. By supporting and nurturing innovation in the aerospace industry through the SADI program, the government helps maintain and grow highly skilled jobs in Canada," CAE president and chief executive officer Marc Parent said in a news release.

The company has about 8,000 employees at more than 100 sites and training locations in about 30 countries.