QinetiQ has secured a C$51m ($37.86m) contract to provide drones to the Canadian Armed Forces, including the Canadian Navy.

The unmanned aircraft system (UAS) programme is intended to drive enhanced situational awareness for the Canadian Armed Forces.

QinetiQ will perform the Canadian Navy drones contract work at its unmanned vehicle manufacturing and operational facilities in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

QinetiQ Canada managing director Robert Aube said: “This [contract] 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.

“We are dedicated to providing a world-class service for the Canadian Armed Forces and 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.”

The vertical take-off UAS, which is based on the UMS Skeldar V-200 UAS, will serve the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.

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“A UAS system of this calibre will be critical for the men and women serving Canada, both domestically and abroad.”

It will have the ability to offer intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) services for both domestic and international operations.

The system will feature several sensors including an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and electro-optic infrared (EO/IR) camera.

Canadian-UAV, Leonardo, UMS Skeldar and  L3 Wescam will serve as principal partners and work with QinetiQ to provide the ISTAR services.

UMS Skeldar CEO Axel Cavalli-Björkman said: “With multiple systems to be delivered in Q3 this year, the Royal Canadian Navy has 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.”

Moreover, Leonardo Radar Campaigns head Wayne Smith stated that its PicoSAR AESA radar can offer enhanced all-weather capability for the Canadian Navy drones.

The radar is designed to provide a high-resolution synthetic aperture radar imaging and ground moving target indication capability.

It will equip the Skeldar V-200 UAS to easily acquire an all-weather ground mapping and surveillance capability, Smith added.

Skeldar V-200 is a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) capable of supporting applications including reconnaissance, identification, target acquisition and electronic warfare.