L3Harris and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) joined forces to advance Canada’s defense capabilities by collaborating on the development and integration of sensor systems for the MQ-9B SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).
In December of the previous year, the Government of Canada finalized an order for a fleet of MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPAS from GA-ASI. The procurement includes certified ground control stations and associated support equipment. The initial delivery of the SkyGuardian RPAS is scheduled for 2028.
As per the GA-ASI report, this acquisition aims to enhance Canada’s defense capabilities, providing interoperability with domestic and continental missions, including NORAD, the Five Eyes Alliance (FVEY), and NATO.
“Canada’s vast territory and complex terrains, including in the Arctic, require a cost-effective multi-mission RPAS solution that can endure long periods on station, fly in harsh weather environments, and safely operate in all airspaces,” said Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI.
“MQ-9B SkyGuardian delivers those critical capabilities. GA-ASI and Team SkyGuardian Canada are honored by this opportunity to become a key partner to Canada for the very long term in delivering these no-fail defense and security outcomes,” he added.
L3Harris Technologies is a key member of Team SkyGuardian Canada, a collaboration with GA-ASI, CAE, and MDA Ltd. Together, they are focused on the development, delivery, and sustainment of Canada’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPAS. L3Harris contributes expertise to enhance intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
As asserted by L3Harris, the MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPAS, equipped with L3Harris’ WESCAM MX-20D, is designed to operate effectively across Canada’s expansive and challenging territorial landscape, including the Arctic region.
MQ-9B, the next-gen RPAS, offers extended endurance and range, featuring auto takeoff, landing under SATCOM-only control, and GA-ASI’s Detect and Avoid system for unsegregated airspace. According to GA-ASI, the first deliveries commenced in 2022 for the UK Royal Air Force, and contracts have been signed with Belgium and the US Air Force.
The Japan Coast Guard and Maritime Self-Defense Force employ MQ-9B for maritime operations and MALE RPAS Trial Operation Project. Additionally, MQ-9B supported US Navy exercises, including Northern Edge, Integrated Battle Problem, and Group Sail.