Canadian government quietly announces it will spend $2.49 billion on MQ-9 Reaper drones

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Photo: MQ-9A Reaper drone.

The CBC reports: “A fleet of 11 MQ-9 Reaper drones, built by U.S. defence contractor General Atomics, will be purchased in a $2.49 billion package, Liberal MPs announced Tuesday [December 19] on behalf of Defence Minister Bill Blair.”

The article adds: “Unlike other recent purchases for the air force, this project was announced outside of Ottawa in a low-key manner. The announcement came after Parliament adjourned for the holiday season and on the same day the Liberal government delivered more information about its high-profile electric vehicle program.”

“The contract involves the delivery of both the drones and six ground stations. The main ground control centre, which houses the aircraft cockpits, will be situated in Ottawa. The aircraft themselves will be stationed at the military airbases in Greenwood, Nova Scotia and Comox, B.C. Their purchase will require the construction of new hangars.”

The article further notes: “The fact that Canada had chosen the MQ-9 slipped out back in the fall, when it was revealed that the U.S. had approved the sale of equipment related to the Reaper, including Hellfire missiles.”

At that time, the Ottawa Citizen reported the Canadian military had requested the United States to provide it with 219 Hellfire missiles and that the purchase of the missiles and “assorted other weapons and equipment” would cost more than $400 million.

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.

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