Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS)

Project summary

The Government of Canada will acquire 11 long range, long endurance, armed remotely piloted aircraft and 6 ground control stations along with associated equipment, weapons, infrastructure, and in-service sustainment capabilities that will support up to three concurrent lines of tasking—domestic or international. This project supports Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) initiatives 50, to invest in medium altitude remotely piloted systems, and 91, to invest in a range of remotely piloted systems, including an armed aerial system capable of conducting surveillance and precision strikes.

The Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) project entered the Implementation phase in 2023 and is expected to achieve first delivery and acceptance in 2028, initial operational capability in 2027-2030, and full operational capability in 2030-2033.

Project phases

Currently in Phase 4: Implementation

1. Identification

1. Identification

  • N/A
2. Options analysis

2. Options analysis

  • Business case analysis endorsed by Defence Capability Board: October 27, 2017
  • Independent Review Panel for Defence Acquisition: March 1, 2018
3. Definition

3. Definition

  • Project approval: April 4, 2019
  • Invitation to qualify: April 5, 2019
  • Request for proposal: February 11, 2022
  • Bid evaluation complete: January 2023
  • Finalization phase complete: November 2023
4. Implementation

4. Implementation

  • Contract award: December 18, 2023
  • First delivery and acceptance: expected 2028
  • Initial operational capability: expected 2027–2030
  • Full operational capability: expected 2030– 2033
5. Close-out

5. Close-out

  • Project Close-out: expected 2033–2035

Learn more about the Defence procurement process.

Additional information

Project updates

Project updates

December 19, 2023
The Government of Canada announced it will acquire the RPAS through a Foreign Military Sale with the United States government and a direct commercial sale contract with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., located in Poway, California.

January 30 – February 03, 2023
Cold weather validation was completed.

August 16, 2022
Bid evaluation started.

June 10, 2022
The first Security Acceptability Assessment was completed.

February 11, 2022
The Request for Proposal was issued to Qualified Suppliers.

November 16, 2020
The draft Request for Proposal was issued to Qualified Suppliers.

May 25, 2020
The draft Security Acceptability Assessment was released to Qualified Suppliers.

May 30, 2019
Qualified Suppliers List posted on

May 2, 2019
Canada published the formal Invitation to Qualify, inviting potential suppliers to submit their proposals. The process has resulted in the following list of qualified suppliers (in alphabetical order):

  1. L3 Technologies MAS Inc.
  2. The United States Government and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

Only the above qualified suppliers will be permitted to participate in the next phases of this procurement and invited to bid on any subsequent solicitation issued as part of this process.

April 5, 2019
The draft invitation to qualify (ITQ) was posted on This ITQ will be used as a pre-qualification process to confirm that a competitive environment exists. Qualified suppliers will then be invited to compete via a request for proposal.

April 4, 2019
Project Approval for the definition phase was received.

June 7, 2017
The Strong, Secure, Engaged defence policy announced Canada would acquire remotely piloted aircraft systems.


Benefiting Canadian industry

Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy applies to the acquisition and sustainment of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System project. The Policy requires that the contractor make investments and provide business activities in Canada equal to the value of the acquisition and in-service support contracts/agreements. Canada has secured contractual commitments from the contractor including Canadian industrial participation on the RPAS fleet, supplier and skill development, and R&D opportunities for the Canadian aerospace and defence sectors.

Industry engagement has included:

  • A request for information to industry published in January 2016.
  • An update to outline the procurement process and associated security requirements done in December 2018.
  • Draft invitation to qualify was posted on in April 2019.
  • Invitation to qualify was posted on on May 2, 2019.
  • The qualified suppliers list was posted on on May 30, 2019.
  • First teleconference with each qualified supplier was held in July 2019.
  • Qualified suppliers' information sessions were held on airworthiness certification and cyber security in October 2019.
  • Between July 2019 and August 2021, various in-person and virtual information sessions were held on a wide range of topics including RPAS procurement process, Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefits, including the Value Proposition framework, terms and conditions, life cycle cost evaluation, sustainment and training requirements, airworthiness certification, and cybersecurity.
Technical information

Technical information

  • Wingspan: 24 meters
  • Endurance: 28 hours
  • Speed: 315 Km/h
Project costs

Project costs

The RPAS acquisition cost is estimated at $2.49 billion. This cost includes all equipment, infrastructure, training, and initial sustainment setup.



Schedule risk remains as the timelines to complete the development work and other activities required for acceptance of the first RPAS are considered ambitious.

Infrastructure may not be ready in time to support equipment delivery.

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