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19 June 2016

Canadian government investing in UAS training and testing facilities

On 17 June, the Canadian federal government announced an investment of $300,000 to support development of a range for training and field testing of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in Foremost, Alberta.

Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains, announcing the investment, said it would be used to support fitting out costs for the range. The government of Alberta will also invest $100,000 in the undertaking, which will be used for business development and range management.

The Foremost Centre for Unmanned Systems, based at the village’s airfield, will benefit from ideal visual flight rules for 90% of the year and a sparse population, according to the Canadian Centre for Unmanned Vehicle Systems (CCUVS).  Some 700 square nautical miles of airspace will be designated up to 18,000 feet for UAS operations, thus allowing Canadian manufacturers, developers and users to test and evaluate UAS of almost every size and description in safety.

The Foremost centre will provide facilities for both military and civil UAS development and testing. Global spending on UAS is expected to triple, to $14 billion, by 2023 and a May report by
PricewaterhouseCoopers values the global market for business services using drones at over US$127 million.

The Canadian Army photo shows troops demonstrating UAS deployment during Exercise Rafale Blanche at CFB Valcartier in January 2015.