The Director of Naval Requirements (DNR) is leading the first phase of the unmanned system program with the acquisition of a family of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) that can be operated from all Canadian warships in order to provide near real-time intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance information.
Over the last decade, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has maintained its course in investigating and developing a robust unmanned system program. As a force multiplier, the UAS will provide information required to extend a commander’s situational awareness, increase interoperability with joint forces ashore, and ensure that the Halifax-class maintains a tactical advantage over potential threats while minimizing risk to the ship and maritime helicopter.
During the RCN’s contributions to Operation MOBILE in Libya in 2011, and more recently during Operation ARTEMIS, UAS support helped interrupt terrorist funding activities by intercepting multiple illicit narcotics shipments. Additionally, the UAS reduced the risk to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) maneuver elements by providing visual surveillance.
The RCN has recently reaffirmed its commitment to the program. In October 2016, DNR conducted a capability demonstration onboard HMCS Summerside where the AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma unmanned aerial vehicle was evaluated. In early November 2017, HMCS Winnipeg successfully conducted a maritime evaluation of Class 1 Rotary Wing UAS.
The information and results obtained during the maritime evaluation are vital for the RCN’s development of unmanned systems use at sea and the evaluation of ships’ critical defence systems.
The defence policy Strong, Secure, Engaged outlines the Government’s over-arching intent to invest in an extensive range of new capabilities for the CAF by acquiring a fleet of remotely piloted systems for the RCN, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force.