New Maritime ISTAR UAV platform for Canadian Navy

QinetiQ secures largest ever Canadian contract to supply ISTAR UAS to Navy.

07 May 2019

In its largest Canadian deal to date, QinetiQ has been awarded a £30 million contract to supply vertical take-off unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for “over-the-horizon' situational awareness for the Royal Canadian Navy and Special Operations Forces Command.

The UK defence contractor will provide Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) services to the Navy and Special Forces for both domestic and international operations.

The UAS system will be based on the  UMS SKELDAR V-200 UAS, and will be equipped with a number of sensors including an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and Electro-optic infrared (EO/IR) camera. 

Robert Aube, Managing Director of QinetiQ in Canada says the UAS will generate tactical advantages for commanders while minimising the risk to manned helicopters and personnel.” UAS repair and overhaul services will be carried out in Southern Alberta.  

QinetiQ will work with four principal partners to deliver the ISTAR services: Canadian-UAV, Leonardo, UMS SKELDAR and Wescam.
“This is an important contract win for us alongside our partners including QinetiQ and confirms our stated strategic commitment to working with global navies following our announcement last year with the German Navy,” explains Axel Cavalli-Björkman, CEO of UMS SKELDAR, the UAV joint venture between Sweden’s Saab and UMS AERO GROUP of Switzerland.

“With multiple systems to be delivered in Q3 this year, the Royal Canadian Navy have 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.”

The order marks many firsts for WESCAM in Canada, including a first for its MX Series turrets to be used by the Royal Canadian Navy, a first order for its MX-8 and MX-10D, and its first contract with QinetiQ in Canada. “L3 WESCAM is proud to have been chosen by QinetiQ, as it confirms our role as a trusted global supplier of advanced imaging technologies to the UAS market,” said Cameron McKenzie, vice president, Global Sales & Business Development of L3 WESCAM.

Sean Greenwood, President, and CEO of Canadian UAVs says this is the foundational contract that the Canadian UAV industry has been waiting for to become world-class in autonomous vehicle service delivery and technology development.” QinetiQ’s recognition of CUAVS’ work to date with Transport Canada in developing advanced UAV operations and their commitment to supporting local SMEs has been fundamental to our growth and cannot be understated.”

Wayne Smith, head of Radar Campaigns at Leonardo says its PicoSAR Active Electronically Scanned Array radar provides an unrivalled all-weather capability for UAS. “It delivers a high resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar imaging and Ground Moving Target Indication capability that will allow the SKELDAR V-200 to easily acquire a true, all-weather ground mapping and surveillance capability.”

Iain Farley, Managing Director International Business at QinetiQ says: the contract win is testament to QinetiQ’s strategy to facilitate growth by investing in its subsidiary businesses and complementary acquisitions. “The investment we have made in Canada has helped secure our largest Canadian contract to date and provides us with a solid foundation for delivering further QinetiQ products and services into the Canadian market and beyond,” he says.