Transport Canada has ordered Elbit Systems Hermes 900 Starliner, an Israeli long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle. The order is part of the National Aerial Surveillance Program, under which the government aims to integrate drone technology into Canadian airspace for environmental monitoring purposes.

The Canadian government awarded a $36.16 million contract to Elbit Systems for the acquisition of a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS). The deal includes one remotely piloted aerial vehicle Hermes 900, the optional purchase of spare parts as well as ground control stations and necessary sensor packages.

Following the agreement, Elbit Systems will deliver its Hermes 900 Starliner as an additional air vehicle to the existing Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program fleet by December 2022. The recent Transport Canada’s investment should help Canadian authorities to complete the environmental monitoring work in order to protect local endangered species and marine environment.

“Integrating remotely piloted aircraft into our fleet will make our surveillance operations more robust than ever. The National Aerial Surveillance Program also helps with search and rescue, humanitarian efforts, illegal fishing enforcement, and the development and regulation of Canada’s drone industry,” quoted Marc Garneau, the Minister of Transport, in a statement.

According to the manufacturer, Hermes 900 Starliner could be controlled from a remote control station while having autopilot capabilities applicable for automatic takeoff and landing procedures. The unmanned aerial vehicle is capable to operate beyond the visual line of sight with a flying range reaching up to 1,400 nautical miles (2593 kilometers). Thanks to technical specifications Canadian authorities will be able to use the vehicle for monitoring activities on the ocean in Canada's Arctic as well as for oil spills detection and ice and marine habitats examination.