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QinetiQ has been awarded a C$51 million (€34 million) contract to deliver unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) that will drive enhanced situational awareness for the Canadian armed forces, the company announced on 7 May. The contract will be delivered from QinetiQ’s unmanned vehicle production and operational facilities in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Based on the UMS Skeldar V-200, the vertical take-off UAS will provide intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) services to the Royal Canadian Navy and Special Operations Forces Command, for both domestic and international operations. It will be equipped with multiple sensors, including an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) camera.

The solution “… generates tactical advantages for commanders while minimising the risk to manned helicopters and personnel. As a result of the contract, we will be pleased to see a large number of jobs created in the Southern Alberta region where UAS repair and overhaul services will be carried out,” commented QinetiQ’s Managing Director in Canada, Robert Aube, adding that “…the information collected and used by a UAS system of this calibre will be critical for the men and women serving Canada, both domestically and abroad.”

QinetiQ will work with four principal partners to deliver the ISTAR services: Canadian-UAV, Leonardo, UMS SKELDAR (a joint venture between Saab and UMS Aero Group) and L3 Wescam:

With multiple systems to be delivered in Q3 this year, the Royal Canadian Navy have secured a maritime UAV platform that not only includes our heavy fuel engine manufactured by German-based Hirth Engines, but also has an ability to carry multiple payloads,” explained UMS Skeldar CEO, Axel Cavalli-Björkman.

… this order marks many strategic firsts for Wescam in the Canadian marketplace, including a first for our MX series turrets to be used by the Royal Canadian Navy, a first order for our MX-8 and MX-10D in Canada and our first contract with QinetiQ in Canada,” observed L3 Wescam Vice President, Global Sales and Business Development, Cameron McKenzie.

This is the foundational contract the Canadian UAV industry has been waiting for to become world-class in autonomous vehicle service delivery and technology development. QinetiQ’s recognition of CUAV’s work to date with Transport Canada in developing advanced UAV operations and their commitment to supporting local SMEs has been fundamental to our growth and cannot be understated,” emphasised Canadian UAV President and CEO, Sean Greenwood.

Our PicoSAR active electronically scanned array radar provides an unrivalled all-weather capability for unmanned aerial systems. It delivers a high resolution synthetic aperture radar imaging and ground moving target indication capability that will allow the Skeldar V-200 to easily acquire a true, all-weather ground mapping and surveillance capability,” added Leonardo’s Head of Radar Campaigns, Wayne Smith.

The extremes of Canada’s environment should present few challenges for the Skeldar V-200. (Photo: UMS Skeldar)

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