Canada to spend up to $5 billion on 12 armed drones

Published by Brent Patterson on

On August 12, Vice reported: “The Canadian government is finally forging ahead with plans to set up its own fleet of armed drones, joining several of its NATO allies.”

“In a briefing for industry players, a representative from the procurement arm of the Canadian government laid out Canada’s desire for its long-range, medium-altitude drone. The total cost for the program could range from $1 billion to $5 billion.”

“It looks increasingly likely that Canada will be buying something resembling the MQ-9 Reaper, a preferred plane for the U.S. armed drone program.”

“[San Diego-based] General Atomics is proposing Canada buy the MQ-9B SkyGuardian—a successor to the MQ-9 Reaper and the MQ-1 Predator, which became synonymous with the Obama administration’s overseas drone operations.”

The article adds that the first drones would arrive by 2024 and be operational in 2025.

Vice has previously reported that “the Royal Canadian Air Force is hoping to get as many as 12 drones” and that they could be used to fire Hellfire missiles and drop laser-guided bombs on targets in Afghanistan, as well as do fly-overs of G20 summits in this country.

The Air Force says that drones could “conduct surveillance of the Summit site security zone, report activities that may threaten security, assist in the monitoring of crowds and access control, and record data for legal purposes.”

Overall, the Canadian government has committed to increase spending on the military from $18.9 billion in 2016-17 to $32.7 billion in 2026-27, with total spending over a 20-year period of $553 billion on a cash basis.

In June, Canada spent $1.1 billion on 50 Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II Tactical missiles (manufactured by Raytheon), training missiles, radar units and other various equipment for Canada’s existing fleet of CF-18 fighter jets.

The Canadian government also intends to award a $19 billion contract in 2022 to one of three transnational arms companies that have now submitted bids to build 88 new fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force. For more on this, please see our fact sheet Five reasons to say no to spending $19 billion on warplanes.

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