L3Harris to Fit Sensors to Canada’s SkyGuardian Drones

L3Harris has signed a deal to provide electro-optical and infrared sensors for Canada’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones.

Delivery of the 11 WESCAM MX™-20D sensor systems is expected to start this year, with the first aircraft delivery to the Royal Canadian Air Force estimated to be in 2028.

The sensor will support the unmanned aerial vehicles’ intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions in the country’s harsh environments, including the Arctic region.

The deal underscores the importance of Canada’s Strong, Secure, Engaged defense policy, which seeks to bolster the country’s remotely piloted aircraft systems with ISR capabilities.

L3Harris’ past endeavors with the Canadian Air Force include its technical and maintenance support for the fleet’s Chinook helicopters.

Canada and the SkyGuardian

Developed by General Atomics, the MQ-9B SkyGuardian is an all-weather ISR-focused drone that can fly for more than 40 hours, utilizing its radar and sensor systems for better situational awareness during missions.

Ottawa signed a contract in 2023 to purchase a fleet of the drones for use in its domestic and continental missions, integrating them into NORAD and NATO missions in the future to promote peace and security in the region.

Aside from L3Harris, General Atomics is also partnering with tech giants CAE and MDA to develop the SkyGuardians’ state-of-the-art capabilities.

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