13 June 2012

Drones To Keep Watch Over Canadian Arctic?

This might be one way for Ottawa to justify purchasing a reduced number of F-35 stealth fighters.

The federal government [of Canada] is considering a proposal to buy at least three high-altitude, unmanned aerial vehicles in what could be an attempt to salvage its Arctic sovereignty ambitions.

The pitch was made by U.S. defence contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. and involves modifying its existing Global Hawk drone, which can operate at 20,000 metres, to meet the rigours of flying in the Far North.

Many of the Conservative government’s plans to establish a presence in the rapidly thawing region, including the construction of military icebreakers and the establishment of a deepwater port, are behind schedule.
The U.S. Air Force is considering selling some of its Global Hawks, which are still under construction, as part of military budget cuts.

“It’s a capability that matches a need here in Canada,” Dane Marolt, Northrop Grumman’s director of international business development. “The Arctic is an issue for Canada. It’s also an issue for the United States. Unless you know what’s going on there, you can’t take any action.”

He says any potential purchase would have to go through the Pentagon, but adds the proposal given to the Canadian government includes aircraft, ground stations, spares and in-service support.

By: Shelldrake


Brian said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: for once, Canada should be ahead of the game and be the first country to ditch manned fighter aircraft completely. But I know it will never happen, because all the people who make decisions in/for the RCAF are former fighter pilots turned functionary/lobbyist....

Mad Padre said...

I have to agree with Brian. Drones, linked in with the CF-140 Aurora, which is a pretty slick surveillance and marpat platform, would cover the north nicely. The only reason we have fighter aircraft is to give governments a quick way to put skin in the game for relatively easy ops such as Libya, even if it's a token presence. New fighter jets are not going to deliver Arctic sovereignty.