Briefing

Ottawa looking for remotely-piloted airplanes to patrol the Arctic

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The aircraft would join the government’s manned planes to assist with search-and-rescue operations and monitor illegal fishing, oil pollution and the shifting of ice flows. Interested companies must submit a proposal by July 18, 2019. The government will award the contract in spring 2020. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Remotely-piloted aircraft—which don’t come with the labour costs associated with their manned counterparts—can be a way for governments and companies to keep costs low. The interest in unmanned aircraft comes one week after Air Canada announced a deal with Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) to sell the latter’s drone-delivery services across 150,000 Canadian delivery routes. DDC currently operates in three remote communities, including Moose Factory and Moosonee in Ontario, but plans to expand to 200 over the next five years. Ottawa’s interest is also potentially good news for Canadian companies. The government had briefly entertained buying an unmanned aircraft for Arctic patrol from Germany in 2017, but ultimately decided to open a competitive bidding process, instead.