Posts Tagged CCUVS
15 October, 2008, Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) delivered the first of its Heron drones to Canadian Forces, as part of a $95 million contract. Management, training, and in-theatre maintenance will be the responsibility of MacDonald Dettwiler.
This follows previous collaboration between IAI and MDA, who tested Heron drones earlier at the Suffield UAV centre CCUVS.
In information released on 2008, MDA claimed that the Heron flight carried out that day was the first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle flight in Alberta. (This seems improbable, and may depend on definitions, because there have been cruise missile flights, which are arguably UAV’s, and lots of remotely controlled flights of smaller aircraft).
IAI toured Canadian Forces Defence Attache through their facilities. Col. Georgie Elms is Hebrew speaking and has served in peacekeeping in Palestine/Israel, and in Kabul, Afghanistan. Elms is looking for consulting contracts, presumably after his CF contract is up.
Herons were also delivered to the Israeli Air Force in March, 2008. They are capable of flying at 30,000 feet, are relatively quiet, and can stay in the air for 40 hours. Herons have also been sold to Turkey, as part of a joint venture with Israeli company Elbit systems (vendors of the Hermes drone). These were being delivered in 2007. The Herons will carry a varying payload of surveillance equipment, which may include laser designators, used for marking targets for other weapons systems. Turkish Forum reports that the Herons were being used by the Turkish military in their conflict with Kurdish insurgents. (ed: PKK?) Turkish Daily News reported that the sale of Israeli drones to Turkey caused problems for the US, since US contractors were excluded from the bidding for technical reasons. An unstated implication was that the bidding process was intentionally unfair, and related to aspects of the close relationship between Turkey and Israel.
Israel has sold UAV’s to South Korea.
Israel has sold Searcher UAV’s to India. Other customers include Chile, Singapore, and the US. An Israeli Military Innovation: UAV, Joint Force Quarterly, 2002, by Ralph Sanders, is a good overview of the development of the Israeli UAV industry.
Meggitt Defence Systems has an office in Medicine Hat Alberta, managed by Spence Fraser, which is dedicated to unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and target systems. Meggitt Defence products include drones, ammunition handling systems, and many more military oriented devices. It is a subsidiary of Meggitt PLC, a UK based multinational. Its products are found on the Abramsmain battle tank, the Stryker mobile gun system, the F-16, the F/A-18 Hornet, the AC 130 Spectre gunship, and the AH 64D Apache gunship. (Source) Many of these weapons have been exported to Israel, and are used in the suppression of the occupied territories. Many are also used in conflict zones where the US operates, such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
These are some of the most deadly and devasting weapons of destruction on earth. Meggitt provides crucial weapons systems for them, primarily systems for loading the ammunition into the weapons. In 2007 Meggitt had revenues of £878 million, and 6,000 employees, based at least partly in Bournemouth, UK.
6 October, 2008 MDS received a contract from General Dynamics to provide ammunition handling systems for its Stryker Mobile Gun Systems. This system has been used a great deal in Iraq. (Source)
Presumably MDS’s main reason for being involved in the Canadian Centre for Unmanned Vehicle Systems is its drone target business, however it may be expanding into the booming UAV industry.
MDS offers training at Medicine Hat, AB, for Canadian Forces personnel to use the Vindicator UAV. The UAV industry is seen as an economic development generator for the region of SE Alberta. (source)
The Canadian Centre for Unmanned Vehicle Systems (CCUVS) is a joint venture of MacDonald Dettwiler, Canadian Forces Base Suffield, DRDC Suffield. Launched in March 2006, its purpose is provide services for an incipient Canadian UAV industry, at CFB Suffield, with offices in nearby Medicine Hat, Alberta. (It describes itself as: “an international hub for the design, development, testing, evaluating and commercialization of unmanned vehicle systems.”
Facilities at the site will be available for both civilian and military purposes (although the military connection is downplayed-ed) Local MP Monte Solberg, of Medicine Hat waxed poetic about the benefits of the UAV program for Medicine Hat, noting that graduates of Medicine Hat College were now working for arms companies like Meggitt (Defense Systems).
There is a year long pilot study by MDA and IAI at the Suffield testing range to trial the Israeli MALAT Heron UAV. The drone is being offered to third parties to test their payloads. (Note: This is a bit of salesmanship on the part of IAI, who get a chance to introduce their drone to local civilian users, thereby preempting competitors). This is a reference with much information about CCUVS.