Canada is buying a Hermes 900 Drone for detecting oil spills and maritime activity in the Arctic.

Image ©Orel Cohen/REUTERS)

SOURCE RCI In a joint statement, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand and Transport Minister Marc Garneau, said the contract with Elbit Systems Ltd. for the acquisition of a Hermes 900 StarLiner remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) was awarded through an “open, transparent and competitive procurement process.”

The federal government has also engaged in consultations with Indigenous groups in Canada’s North, where the drone will operate, officials said.

The Hermes 900 StarLiner, a civilian version of Elbit’s medium-altitude long-endurance military drones, will join Transport Canada National Aerial Surveillance Program aircraft fleet. It is expected to be delivered by December 2022.

According to federal officials, the Hermes 900 StarLiner is capable of operations of up to 72 degrees north latitude and has a range of more than 1,400 nautical miles. It comes equipped with back-up command and control and navigation systems, electrical optical infrared camera, synthetic aperture radar and mapping camera system.

The drone is controlled from a remote location and also includes autopilot capabilities, such as automatic takeoff and landing.

Transport Canada plans to use it to detect oil spills, survey ice and marine habitats, and monitor activity on the ocean in Canada’s Arctic, officials said.

The aircraft is fully certified to operate in civilian airspace, and will take-off and land in civilian airfields.

In addition to the drone itself, the $36.16‑million contract includes communication links, ground control stations, sensor packages, training and the optional purchase of spare parts.

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