Monday, February 23, 2009

Poor Peter II: Boy is he confused

The Air Force has two separate major UAV projects. The first is called NOCTUA; it's a short-term urgent move that resulted in the leasing of Herons now flying in Afstan:
Immediate Needs:
The Government has secured the two year lease of a Heron UAV tactical system to be delivered in Afghanistan by early 2009. Under Project NOCTUA, the two-year $95 million contract was awarded to MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) of Vancouver, BC on August 1, 2008...
The second is JUSTAS; it's a long-term project, started under the Liberals, to purchase a fleet of UAVs to perform a variety of roles for the CF (also from link in first paragraph):
Beyond Afghanistan:
A long term UAV solution, in the form of the Joint UAV Surveillance Target Acquisition System (JUSTAS) Program, is currently being developed that will include domestic and deployed operational UAV capabilities.
There's lots of detail on JUSTAS at this post.

MND MacKay however does not seem to realize there are two distinct Air Force UAV projects (unless an unannounced decision has been made to keep the Herons after Afstan and cancel the JUSTAS project):
Defence Minister Peter MacKay told me late last year that newly acquired Canadian spy planes will be redeployed in 2011 from Afghanistan to keep watch on Canada’s coastlines.

The CCU170 Heron spy planes are built by Israeli Aerospace Industries and entered service with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan in late 2008. They’re being used to keep track of suspected threats to Canadian troops and development projects and Afghan government facilities.

But defence planners are looking beyond the Afghanistan deployment, which will be scaled down drastically in 2011.

"We’re going to have a fleet of those things when the Afghanistan mission is over and they can be used in Arctic sovereignty patrols, they can be used in coastal patrols," MacKay said.

Combined with other new technologies, Herons can be used to help map the Arctic, for search and rescue and to track submarines and shipping. A base could be set up at CFB Goose Bay, Labrador, for long-range patrols into the far north...
Poor Peter


Blogger Mabus said...

To be fair, all Mackay is quoted as saying is that we'll have UAVs doing patrols in the future. The journalist seems to have assumed he meant the same ones we have in Afstan right now.

7:30 p.m., February 23, 2009  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Mabus: Good point. I hope it was the journalist blowing it and not the MND. The key word would seem to be "redeployed". One awaits clarification from Peter's office.


8:10 p.m., February 23, 2009  

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