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  • April 24th, 2013

What people are saying about armed drones for Canada

“…whether the drones should be armed, it will probably be part of the identified need that the drones should have an armed capability. Clearly, in foreign operations, during complex missions like in Afghanistan or Libya, for example, the advantage of drones is that they remain in position for long periods of time and they see a lot. The capability for action is also very important, as opposed to waiting longer to call in a fighter or something else in order to solve a problem on the ground. So being able to have a short- or medium-range weapon — depending on the capability of the drone — and being able to act is very important. As we know, during an insurrection, you have to act almost instantaneously.

“So the capability to be armed, if required, especially internationally, will be part of the needs identified for the drones.”

– Lieutenant- General Deschamps, then Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, told to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence on February 27, 2012. (http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/411/secd/04evb-49351-e.htm?Language=E&Parl=41&Ses=1&comm_id=76)

“This Joint Unmanned Surveillance and Target Acquisition System (JUSTAS) will complement existing reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition capabilities, increase maritime and arctic domain awareness and provide precision force application in support of Land and Special Operations Forces.”

– Department of National Defence – Reports on Plans and Priorities 2013-14, Status Report on Transformational and Major Crown Projects. (http://www.vcds-vcemd.forces.gc.ca/sites/internet-eng.aspx?page=15294#unmannedsurveillance)

“As to larger versions like the Reaper or Predator, capable of carrying weighty ‘precision-guided munitions,’ she says this represents ‘a secondary’ function ‘in support of deployed operations.’”

– Royal Canadian Air Force spokesperson Holly-Anne Brown, quoted in NOW, “Aerial acrobatics” by Paul Weinberg, February 14, 2013. (http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=191224)

“The Draft JUSTAS Concept of Operations (CONOPS) details possible characteristics of the proposed UAV system that are instructive. The system may be armed, capable of carrying at least two 500-lb. weapons.”

– Major Iain Huddleston, Royal Canadian Air Force, in his paper “Canada First? Defence Strategy and the Future Aerospace ISR ‘System of Systems,’” for the Canadian Forces College. (http://www.cfc.forces.gc.ca/papers/csc/csc35/mds/huddleston.pdf)

“The aircraft should also be able to carry precision-guided munitions, the government said.”

– Letter from the Government of Canada to aerospace firms in July 2012 requesting details about the types of drones now available, as reported in the Ottawa Citizen, “Military to spend $1B on armed drones” by David Pugliese, August 6, 2012. (http://o.canada.com/2012/08/06/military-to-spend-1b-on-armed-drones/)

“Responding to high-level government discussions on ways to address future operational needs for the war, Canadian Forces planners detailed a proposal to purchase a fleet of armed unmanned aerial vehicles at a cost of roughly $600 million. ‘There are currently limited options available for a weaponized UAV, a crucial requirement for this and future operations,’ the briefing noted.”

– A briefing presented August 16, 2011, to Defence Minister Peter MacKay by DND Deputy Minister Robert Fonberg and Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk, as reported in the Ottawa Citizen, “Military to spend $1B on armed drones” by David Pugliese, August 6, 2012. (http://o.canada.com/2012/08/06/military-to-spend-1b-on-armed-drones/)

“Wuennenberg said the UAVs to be purchased for JUSTAS would be capable of carrying weapons, but the primary role for the aircraft is ISR.”

– JUSTAS deputy project director Maj. Mark Wuennenberg, reported in Defence News, “Notebook: Canada Rethinks Intel Strategy” by David Pugliese, January 25, 2012. (http://www.defensenews.com/print/article/20120125/C4ISR02/301250005/Notebook-Canada-Rethinks-Intel-Strategy)


“As part of the Canada First Defence Strategy (please see http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/pri/first-premier/index-eng.asp for more information), the Joint Unmanned Surveillance Target Acquisition System (JUSTAS) will ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces is equipped with the tools it needs to be a modern, multi-role force, taking on the challenges of the 21st century. The system will be used primarily for surveillance and reconnaissance.”

– Conservative Member of Parliament for riding of Macleod Ted Menzies, in an email to a constituent delivered on March 28, 2013.


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