The Government of Canada has awarded a $36.16 million contract to Elbit Systems Ltd. for the acquisition of a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS). The contract, announced by Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, and Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, includes communications links, ground control stations, sensor packages, one remotely piloted aircraft, training, and the optional purchase of spare parts.
The contract fits into Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program, as part of the government’s efforts to verify the use drone technology and its safe integration into Canadian airspace. “This investment will help to enhance the security and surveillance capacity under the program, leading to a cleaner and safer environment,” said Anand.
Under the agreement, Elbit Systems of Israel will provide its Hermes 900 StarLiner RPAS as an addition to the existing Transport Canada National Aerial Surveillance Program fleet. The drone is expected to be delivered by December 2022.
The aircraft system is controlled from a remote location and also includes autopilot capabilities, such as automatic takeoff and landing. The Hermes 900 StarLiner is rated for a range of more than 1,400 nautical miles, as a medium-altitude, long-endurance RPAS capable of operations to 72 degrees north latitude. Transport Canada plans to use the aircraft to detect oil spills, survey ice and marine habitats, and monitor activity on the ocean in Canada’s Arctic.
“Canada is committed to protecting our endangered species and our marine environment,” said Garneau. “Integrating remotely piloted aircraft into our fleet will make our surveillance operations more robust than ever. The National Aerial Surveillance Program also helps with search and rescue, humanitarian efforts, illegal fishing enforcement, and the development and regulation of Canada’s drone industry.”