The RCAF has been looking to purchase Drones (UAVs) since it outlined its various options to Air Force Staff in 2005.
The issue is, the following year in 2006, Canada's operations in Afghanistan picked up, and Canada opted to lease UAVs for immediate use from numerous aerospace industries, with the option to purchase them at a later date. The full financials were not provided to the RCAF for these options according to an internal audit.
The RCAFs Joint Unmanned Surveillance Targeting and Acquisition System (JUSTAS) was supposed to be operational in 2010. That date was later pushed back to 2012, and just recently been pushed to 2017.
However, recent reports from the RCAF to industry experts, the Air Force does not expect UAV operational systems in place until 2023.
The latest outline shows a contract awarded for the drones possible between 2019 and 2020, with delivery taking place between 2021 and 2025. That is if the RCAF procurement stays with its plan this time, it will only be a decade and a half behind schedule. Who knows what operations we will be involved in in 2025, and what capability we will require.