Thursday, March 30, 2017

RCN Interested in UAS for Halifax Frigates

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch 

Companies have until April 18 to provide information to the Canadian government for a unmanned aerial system (UAS) for the Royal Canadian Navy. The UAS would be used onboard a Halifax-class warship, according to Public Services and Procurement Canada. The RCN is looking for a proven system “that is technically airworthy, and has an already established supply chain and maintenance schedule,” according to information provided to industry.

“The UAS will enhance the Halifax-class frigate’s ability to conduct sustained, extended, concealed Over The Horizon (OTH) surveillance, targeting, and intelligence gathering operations required to locate, identify and interdict Contacts of Interest (COI) or similar effects in support of forces in open ocean or the littorals,” the department noted.

“Noting that an embarked Maritime Helicopter on a typical six month deployment would fly approximately 500 hours, while operating a 12 hour deck cycle; it would not be unreasonable to consider that the UAS could fly closer to 1000 hours in that same period. This would provide the host warship with a UAS that could fly up to 12 hours every other day (or iterations thereof).”

Public Services and Procurement Canada noted the UAS should not require any launch and recovery apparatus.

Here are more details (provided by the department) on the aircraft the RCN would be interested in:

-The UAS must have a minimum of six (6) hour endurance in order to meet a minimum of 3.5 hour on station time, a minimum of 50 NM from the host ship while fitted with a core payload, while operating at 50kts.

– The UAS must operate in challenging maritime conditions, which include up to sea state 4, headwinds of 25 knots with crosswinds of 10 knots and gusts up to 40 knots, temperatures ranging from -30 to +40 Celsius and rainfall of up to 4mm per hour.

-The UAS must remotely operate Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), extending a ships current sensor range beyond 50nm, in order to effectively perform ISTAR related tasks at a tactically relevant range.

-The UAS must have a core set of payloads installed at all times to include EO/IR, maritime radar, AIS, and an IFF Transponder, and the UAS must be able to add additional mission specific payloads to support the ISTAR mission of the day.

The government’s request for information is aimed at refining the RCN’s requirements.

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