Canada’s acquisition of the General Atomics MQ-9B Reaper drones, initially scheduled for operational deployment by 2025, has been delayed to 2028 to allow for modifications enabling their operation in the Arctic. The project, worth up to 5 billion Canadian dollars ($3.6 billion), requires significant development, including integration of new systems for satellite communication and operation in Canadian climatic conditions. The drones will be equipped with Canadian-made sensors and are part of a broader package that includes missiles and radars.
- Project Delay: The delivery of the MQ-9B Reaper drones to the Royal Canadian Air Force is postponed to 2028 to adapt the aircraft for Arctic operations.
- Special Modifications Needed: Development work includes integrating satellite communication systems and components for high northern latitude operations, including the Arctic.
- Climate Adaptation Requirements: Additional testing and modifications are necessary to ensure the drones can operate and be maintained under Canadian climatic conditions.
- Integration of Canadian Technology: The drones will feature the Canadian-made WESCAM MX-20 EO/IR sensor, among other systems.
- Foreign Military Sale Approval: The U.S. State Department has approved a sale to Canada, including 219 Hellfire missiles and other equipment, valued at approximately $313 million, to support the MQ-9B Reaper project.