Canadian Military Lays Groundwork for Armed Drones – Canada is close to purchasing armed drones for its military. After nearly two decades of postponement and debate, details are beginning to emerge about how this highly problematic weapon will be used.
Canadian Military Lays Groundwork for Armed Drones
MilitaryEzyInfo.com – According to the Canadian Press, Lt. Gen. Al Meisinger, commander of the Canadian Air Force, said the two selected drone manufacturers will launch a formal call for proposals in the fall with a bid value of up to $5 billion.
In the meantime, the military is preparing to deploy drones as soon as they start arriving over the next three to four years. This includes plans to build a center in Ottawa where pilots will operate the drones.
“We haven’t decided where we’re going to build the base yet, but we’re definitely going to build a centralized ground control center in Ottawa,” Meinzinger said.
The entire drone force will consist of about 300 soldiers and will include technicians, pilots and other experts from the Air Force and other branches of the military, he said. Specific capability upgrades and the number of drones to be acquired have yet to be determined.
Despite the unresolved issues, reaching this level of capability is a major step forward for the military, which has spent nearly two decades procuring and acquiring drones to support surveillance operations and overseas missions in Canada’s vast territory.
With the exception of the retirement of temporary drones acquired for the war in Afghanistan, the military has not been able to make much progress in developing a permanent fleet.
This is despite the growing role of drones in militaries around the world: a report published in the Canadian Air Force magazine at the end of 2015 found that 76 foreign militaries were using drones and another 50 were developing them.
A major reason is that no federal government had allowed the Canadian military to use armed or unarmed drones on par with fighter jets or helicopter units until the Liberal government included this in its 2017 defense policy.
The government and military have stated that these drones will be used for surveillance and intelligence gathering, as well as appropriate airstrikes against enemy forces that are authorized to use force.
However, some critics have criticized the decision to purchase armed drones due to concerns about their possible use in Canada and the many reports of accidental damage and civilian casualties caused by airstrikes by other countries, especially the US and Russia.
The government has also made little mention of the possibility of using such armed forces, including whether or not they would be used to kill people. Government officials believe that it will be used in the same way as conventional weapons such as fighter jets and artillery.
The difference with allies such as Germany, Marian said, is that they went ahead with the procurement of drones capable of striking from the air without political debate.
On Wednesday, PDP leader Jagmeet Singh said he would oppose the purchase of armed drones, saying it was incompatible with the party’s belief that the main role of the armed forces is to provide relief at home and maintain peace abroad.