MDA Ltd., a player in technology and services, embarks on a collaboration with GA-ASI to fortify Canada’s defence capabilities by delivering MQ-9B SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).

In a strategic move aimed at reinforcing Canada’s defence and security landscape, MDA Ltd. has clinched a $74m contract from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) to support the procurement of MQ-9B SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) by the Canadian Armed Forces. This partnership shows MDA’s role as a global mission partner, leveraging technology and services to bolster national security.

The agreement entails MDA’s role in assembling RPAS ground control stations at its Richmond, BC, facility and delivering combat search and rescue radios. Moreover, MDA will spearhead the design of the RPAS Ground Control Centre information management system, ensuring integration and flow of information, a component for decision-making in defence operations.

At the end of last year, Canada unveiled a C$2.49bn ($1.87 billion) investment for the MQ-9B SkyGuardian from US-based General Atomics. 

As per GlobalData’s intelligence on the Canadian defence market, Canada’s General Atomics was chosen over a consortium headed by L3Harris Technologies named Team Artemis, who proposed the Artemis UAS to Canada’s RPAS acquisition. However, since then, L3Harris has been chosen to deliver 11 WESCAM MX-20D electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor systems for the MQ-9B SkyGuardian.

Mike Greenley, CEO of MDA, emphasised the significance of this collaboration, highlighting Canada’s diverse and expansive landscape, including the Arctic, which necessitates robust and reliable defence infrastructure. “Canada’s large, diverse and complex landscape, including the Arctic, require trusted and tested mission partners who understand the operating landscape, the need for seamless system integration, and the strategic value of real-time information and insight.”

Greenley underscored MDA’s commitment to partnering with GA-ASI and other Canadian entities, “We’re honoured to be partnering with GA-ASI and other Canadian companies to deliver this important new system that will support Canada’s domestic and continental defence and security priorities.”

The MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPAS is interoperable with Canada’s domestic and continental defence missions, integrating with NORAD and allies such as the Five Eyes (FVEY) alliance and NATO. 

In 2023, Taiwan procured four MQ-9B SkyGuardian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. 

Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI, expressed confidence in the MQ-9B SkyGuardian’s ability to meet Canada’s evolving defence needs, “Canada’s vast territory and complex terrains require a cost-effective, multi-mission RPAS solution that can endure long periods on station, fly in harsh weather environments, and operate safely in all airspaces.”

With this contract slated to be added to MDA’s backlog in the first quarter of fiscal 2024, the collaboration between MDA and GA-ASI enhances Canada’s defence capabilities, ensuring the nation’s preparedness to tackle emerging security challenges.