Canada’s military has been reluctant to use drones to fire missiles or drop bombs because of the time delay between actions taken by pilots and the reaction by the weapon system. This doesn’t bother the American controllers of US drones deployed in Afghanistan.
However, Canada’s new conservative government is enthralled with the idea of drones, and has opened project JUSTAS, a project to evaluate and eventually acquire drone capability in several areas, including the ability to have armed drones. Most drone technology is provided by the US and Israel, with Israel arguably the most advanced. The government has allocated $750 million for the project, leaving open the possibility that Canada will be making a $750 million purchase from the Israeli arms industry. (Background) Canada already has a $100 million contract with Israel Aeronautic Industries and MacDonald Detwiller Ltd to lease and operate 5 Israeli drone for use by Canada’s forces in Afghanistan. Israel has accumulated an astounding 450,000 hours flying drones in the past 30 years. Clearly much of this has been in maintaining its occupation of Palestinian land in the West Bank and Gaza.
The Canadian American Strategic Review review the candidates for the JUSTAS program here. Vanguard, the Canadian Defense and Security ezine published and article backgrounding Canada’s move to acquire UAV’s here.
Here’s a blogger with more news.