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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

30 May 10. The Canadian Forces’ plan to buy pilotless aircraft to conduct surveillance ROB off the country’s coasts, in the Arctic and on overseas missions has fallen behind schedule because the military doesn’t have enough people to fly the drones, military and aerospace VP industry experts say. The unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, are supposed to provide a cost-effective way of providing surveillance Sales as they require fewer crew members and use less fuel. While the drones don’t carry pilots, they still require an operator on the ground to fly the craft. Staff are also needed to maintain the equipment and to prepare them for flight. But the air force is having difficulty finding enough people for a new unit that would be needed to operate the UAVs, military and aerospace industry VP officials say. In previous interviews, military officers said the Joint UAV Surveillance and and Target Acquisition System, or JUSTAS, would issue a request for proposals from industry by the end of 2009 and a contract would be signed this year. The first of the UAVs would have arrived by February LORNE 2012. But that request was never issued and the Defence Department will not provide details on when that might happen or when a contract will be awarded. It noted that the program is expected to go to government for preliminary approval sometime this year and after that, more details will be released. But a JUSTAS schedule provided to the Ottawa Citizen by a source notes that the
$1.5bn project won’t start delivering UAVs until 2014. The unmanned aircraft would be fully operating by 2017, according to the new schedule. Asked about the reasons for the delays on the JUSTAS project, air force spokeswoman Capt. Isabelle Bresse noted in an e-mail: “This is a complex project that requires significant in-effort.” (Source: Google)

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