Canada to acquire RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aircraft from US

30 August 2016 (Last Updated August 30th, 2016 18:30)

The Government of Canada is to acquire Blackjack small unmanned aircraft from the US, under a foreign military sales contract worth $14.2m.

The Government of Canada is to acquire Blackjack small unmanned aircraft from the US, under a foreign military sales contract worth $14.2m.

The RQ-21A Blackjack will provide the Canadian Army with persistent, real-time intelligence through aerial surveillance and reconnaissance.

This unmanned aircraft is an important component of the land force intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance programme, the Canadian Government said in a statement.

"We are pleased to work cooperatively with the US government and the US Navy to bring this leading-edge technology to Canada."

Soldiers will use Blackjack's imagery and communication capabilities for surveillance purposes.

Army commanders will be able to immediately identify and respond to threats using the system.

Canada National Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan said: “The Blackjack aerial surveillance system will provide the Canadian Armed Forces with modern, sophisticated technology that will give commanders the situational awareness they need to conduct missions effectively.

“We are pleased to work cooperatively with the US government and the US Navy to bring this leading-edge technology to Canada.”

Canada is the first foreign military to acquire the RQ-21A Blackjack, which includes five unmanned aircraft, two ground control stations, and one launch and recovery system.

Each aircraft is capable of providing surveillance coverage of more than 100km for over 12 hours.

The RQ-21A Blackjack is capable of carrying multiple payloads, making it a flexible, multi-mission platform suitable for foreign operations.

Canada Public Services and Procurement Minister Judy M. Foote said: “Buying innovative and proven defence technology directly from our allies is just one of the many ways in which the Government of Canada is able to deliver the right equipment to the Canadian Armed Forces at the best value for Canadians.”

Boeing Insitu-built will be delivered to the Canadian Army in 2017.