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Transport Canada acquires a remotely piloted aircraft system

In order for Transport Canada to continue effectively delivering its National Aerial Surveillance Program, it is important that the department has the equipment it needs to keep Canadian waters safe, and to monitor pollution. 

Today, the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, and the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced the Government of Canada has awarded a $36.16‑million contract to Elbit Systems Ltd. for the acquisition of a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) or drone.

This contract was awarded through an open, transparent and competitive procurement process. This acquisition will play an integral role in the Government’s effort to verify the practical potential of drone technology and to integrate it safely into Canadian airspace.

The Hermes 900 StarLiner RPAS is a new addition to the Transport Canada National Aerial Surveillance Program aircraft fleet, and is expected to be delivered by December 2022. The aircraft system is controlled from a remote location and also includes autopilot capabilities, such as automatic takeoff and landing. With a flying range of more than 1,400 nautical miles and the capability to operate beyond the visual line of sight, it will be used to detect oil spills, survey ice and marine habitats, and monitor activity on the ocean in Canada’s Arctic.

This investment will allow Transport Canada to continue its critically important work to keep our waters clean and safe.

“Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program is an essential piece of the Government of Canada’s efforts to keep Canada’s coasts and inland waters safe and clean. This investment will help to enhance the security and surveillance capacity under the program, leading to a cleaner and safer environment.”

The Honourable Anita Anand

Minister of Public Services and Procurement

“Canada is committed to protecting our endangered species and our marine environment. Integrating remotely piloted aircraft into our fleet will make our surveillance operations more robust than ever.  The National Aerial Surveillance Program also helps with search and rescue, humanitarian efforts, illegal fishing enforcement, and the development and regulation of Canada’s drone industry.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • Prior to beginning industry consultation on this procurement, Transport Canada engaged with Indigenous groups in Canada’s North, where the RPAS will operate. Public Services and Procurement Canada also provided a Notification of Procurement to the Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement groups in Canada’s North.
  • The medium-altitude, long-endurance RPAS is a proven design capable of operations to 72 degrees north latitude and a minimum range of 1,400 nautical miles with a two-hour fuel reserve. Key installations include back-up command and control and navigation systems, electrical optical infrared camera, synthetic aperture radar and mapping camera system.
  • The contract includes communication links, ground control stations, sensor packages, one remotely piloted aircraft, training, and the optional purchase of spare parts.
  • The National Aerial Surveillance Program is focused on preventing pollution in our waters, protecting endangered marine life and ensuring a safe and efficient transportation industry.
  • The National Aerial Surveillance Program also helps with search and rescue, humanitarian efforts, illegal fishing enforcement, and the development and regulation of Canada’s drone industry.

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