Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS)

Project summary

This project will acquire a medium altitude and armed Remotely Piloted Aircraft System along with associated equipment, weapons, infrastructure and in-service sustainment capability that will support up to three concurrent lines of tasking, domestic or international. This project supports Strong, Secure, Engaged initiatives 50 and 91.

Project phases

Currently in Phase 3: Definition

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: 2022-23
4. Implementation

4. Implementation

  • Contract award: 2023-2024
  • First delivery: 2026-2027
  • Initial operational capability: 2029–2030
  • Full operational capability: 2032– 2033
5. Close-out

5. Close-out

  • Project Close-out: 2034–2035

Learn more about the Defence procurement process.

Additional information

Project updates

Project updates

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 (RFP) was issued to Qualified Suppliers.

November 16, 2020
The draft Request for Proposal (RFP) 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 will apply to the acquisition and sustainment of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System. This will require that industry make investments in Canada equal to the value of the acquisition and in-service support contracts/agreements. Canada will seek, through negotiations, contractual commitments from industry that align with the value proposition (VP) strategic objectives.

Canada will continue to engage with stakeholders on advancing industrial and technological benefits for companies in Canada, and promoting innovation, ensuring best value and supporting Canada’s defence priorities.

Industry engagement thus far 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, the value proposition framework, terms and conditions, life cycle cost evaluation, sustainment and training requirements, airworthiness certification, and cybersecurity.
Technical information

Technical information

To be defined.

Project costs

Project costs

The RPAS acquisition cost is estimated between $1 billion and $5 billion. This cost includes project management costs, infrastructure, contracts and contingency.



Schedule risk has already materialized as a consequence of the challenging supplier engagement due to project complexity, resulting in the delayed issuance of the RFP. Schedule risk remains as the timelines to complete bid evaluation and finalization have a number of external dependencies.

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