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Ottawa spending $2.49 billion to acquire 11 drones for Royal Canadian Air Force

HALIFAX — Ottawa has announced it will spend $2.49 billion to acquire 11 remotely piloted drones to help the Royal Canadian Air Force conduct long-distance surveillance.

The procurement will be made through a direct commercial sale contract with U.S.-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., with some components acquired from the United States government.

Roughly the size of a fighter jet, the large drones will be used to monitor Canada’s coastline and territory, and assist the military when it responds to natural disasters such as forest fires and floods.

Officials say the drones will also help Canada fulfil its missions with Norad and NATO, and provide the air force interoperability with allied militaries.

In addition to the aircraft, the acquisition includes six ground control stations, a new ground control centre to be based in Ottawa, two new aircraft hangers, weapons and training technology.

The announcement was made today during news conferences at Canadian Forces bases in Greenwood, N.S., and Comox, B.C., where the new aircraft will be stationed.

The federal government says the first drones are expected to be delivered in 2028 and will be at full operational capability by 2033.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 19, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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