Leonardo has been awarded a contract to provide its PicoSAR active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars for new surveillance drones for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

The contract was awarded by QinetiQ, which is the prime contractor for the delivery of unmanned intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) aircraft to the CAF.

Designed and manufactured by Leonardo in Edinburgh, Scotland, PicoSAR is capable of providing ground mapping and surveillance capabilities in all weather conditions.

AESA radars will be deployed at sea and on land, for domestic and international operations.

Leonardo noted that the radar can deliver high-performance E-Scan surveillance capabilities in an extremely compact package.

The ISTAR drones due to be delivered to CAF are based on the lightweight UMS Skeldar V-200 unmanned aerial system (UAS).

Equipping these aircraft with the AESA radar will enable operators to benefit from different modes, including high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging and ground moving target indication (GMTI), the company added.

In a statement, Leonardo said: “The contract is an example of Leonardo’s open approach to partnerships in the service of providing the best solution for a customer’s needs.

“In this case, Leonardo has worked closely with QinetiQ to ensure that the PicoSAR radar is the perfect fit for the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces.”

“The radar can deliver high-performance E-Scan surveillance capabilities in an extremely compact package.”

The company has delivered its E-Scan surveillance radars to 30 countries. PicoSAR has been installed on more than ten different aircraft.

QinetiQ was awarded the unmanned aircraft systems contract earlier this month. The drone will help enhance situational awareness and deliver ISTAR services to the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.

Leonardo is one of QinetiQ’s four principal partners to deliver ISTAR services. The remaining three partners include Canadian-UAV, UMS SKELDAR and Wescam.