Canada set to spend about $400 million on more than 200 Hellfire missiles for its new $5 billion fleet of Reaper drones
Photo: AGM-114 Hellfire missile.
The Ottawa Citizen reports: “The Canadian military has set the stage for its purchase of a fleet of armed drones by requesting the United States provide it with 219 Hellfire missiles as part of an overall program that could be worth up to $5 billion.”
The Air-to-Ground (AGM)-114R2 Hellfire II missile “provides precision striking power against tanks, structures, bunkers and helicopters.” Lockheed Martin manufactures the missile body, while Northrop Grumman builds its propulsion system.
The article adds: “Canada, the U.S. government and American drone manufacturer General Atomics are in the final stages of the purchase of a fleet of MQ-9 Reaper drones that will be operated from a command centre in Ottawa. A contract is expected to be in place by next spring, if not earlier, military and defence industry officials say.”
Photo: MQ-9A Reaper drone.
The purchase of the Hellfire missiles and “assorted other weapons and equipment” for the drones is worth more than $400 million.
Those additional purchases include twelve Mk82 500-lb General Purpose bombs and eighteen tail kits for GBU-38 and GBU-54 munition systems “that convert existing unguided free-fall bombs into accurate, adverse weather smart munitions.”
In May 2021, the Canadian Press reported: “The government and military say the unmanned aircraft will be used for surveillance and intelligence gathering as well as delivering pinpoint strikes from the air on enemy forces in places where the use of force has been approved.”
A media statement from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency on the sale of munitions and other systems for the drones highlights: “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the military capability of Canada, a NATO ally that is an important force for ensuring political stability and economic progress, and a contributor to military, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations around the world.”
In July 2021, The Intercept reported: “By some estimates, U.S. drone operations abroad, conducted by both the military and the CIA, have killed between 9,000 and 17,000 people since 2004, including as many as 2,200 children and multiple U.S. citizens.”
Daniel Hale, a former United States Air Force signals intelligence analyst who helped locate targets for drone strikes when he was deployed in Afghanistan, has stated: “With drone warfare, sometimes nine out of 10 people killed are innocent.”
Canada is expected to receive its first armed drones in 2028.
Further reading: Canada to spend up to $5 billion on 12 armed drones (August 13, 2020)
Photo: An MQ-9A Reaper drone armed with eight Hellfire missiles.
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