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Canada’s Defense Minister Unveils Significant Drone Donation to Ukraine

SkyRanger-R-70. Image source: https://www.flir.ca/products/skyranger-r70/?vertical=uas&segment=uis

In a significant move aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s defense capabilities in the face of Russia’s ongoing invasion, Canadian Defence Minister Bill Blair has unveiled plans to donate more than 800 cutting-edge drones to the embattled nation. The announcement made February 19, 2024 in Toronto, marks a crucial step in Canada’s ongoing support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and security.

Accompanied by a host of dignitaries including Members of Parliament James Maloney and Yvan Baker, as well as representatives from Teledyne and Ukrainian-Canadian community leaders, Minister Blair emphasized the importance of this donation in aiding Ukraine’s brave resistance against the illegal and unwarranted aggression from Russia.

“As we approach the second anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion, Canada stands firmly with Ukraine in defence of freedom and democracy. In coordination with our allies and partners, we will continue to provide Ukraine with the military aid that it needs to fight and win this war. Today’s announcement ensures that Ukraine has the drones it needs to detect and identify targets which are critical to Ukraine’s ongoing fight. Canada will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” stated the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence.

The SkyRanger R70 multi-mission Unmanned Aerial Systems, valued at over $95 million, are slated to be sourced from Teledyne FLIR in Waterloo, Ontario. Equipped with state-of-the-art automated and autonomous navigation systems, these drones possess the capability to carry a variety of camera systems and payloads, enabling Ukrainian forces to detect and identify targets with precision, even in challenging conditions such as darkness and adverse weather.

SkyRanger R70 tablet. Image source: https://www.flir.ca/products/skyranger-r70/?vertical=uas&segment=uis

“As the Member of Parliament for Waterloo, I’m pleased to see Teledyne, a Waterloo founded company, developing, engineering, and manufacturing technologies that will provide much needed aid to Ukraine. Canadians, in a strong majority, refuse the premise of Putin’s illegal war on Ukraine and agree that Canada must do all that we can to stand with Ukrainians. This is yet another example of how Canada is supporting vital efforts,” commented the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Member of Parliament for Waterloo.

Notably, these drones are not only crucial for surveillance and intelligence gathering but also hold the capacity to transport and deliver essential supplies, further enhancing Ukraine’s operational capabilities on the ground. Minister Blair affirmed Canada’s commitment to supporting Ukraine by working closely on a comprehensive training plan and delivery schedule, with the first batch expected to reach Ukrainian soil this spring.

“For many Canadians, and especially those of Ukrainian heritage, it’s important now more than ever that Ukraine has the support it needs to fight the war. I’m proud to host Minister Blair in my community of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, to announce that we will be providing Ukraine with the drones they need to protect their troops and their country,” expressed James Maloney, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

With the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion looming, the significance of this donation cannot be overstated. Drones have emerged as a pivotal asset in Ukraine’s defense arsenal, providing invaluable situational awareness and intelligence gathering capabilities to Ukrainian troops, thereby enabling them to respond swiftly and decisively to threats posed by Russian forces.

“We are proud to support Canada’s Department of National Defence with our combat-proven, multi-mission SkyRanger R70 drone platform. This donation by Canada extends the array of military solutions Teledyne FLIR Defense is providing to Ukraine through governments worldwide,” said Anne Bulik, Vice-President of Unmanned Systems North America for Teledyne FLIR.

This donation is part of Canada’s broader military assistance package to Ukraine, which has seen a commitment of over $2.4 billion since February 2022. In addition to the drones, Canada has provided a range of military equipment including main battle tanks, combat support vehicles, anti-tank weapons, small arms, and high-resolution drone cameras, among others.

Furthermore, Minister Blair recently announced a new contribution of $60 million to the Ukraine Defense Contact Group Air Force Capability Coalition, aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s air defense capabilities with the setup of a sustainable F-16 fighter aircraft capability. These funds will be utilized to source essential supplies and equipment for the F-16 fleet, underscoring Canada’s steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine’s defense needs.

“Ukraine’s victory is vital to Canada’s security, so a Ukrainian victory is the only option for Canada. Ukrainians needs our help to fight against Russia’s brutal invasion and to achieve that victory. The military aid we are announcing today is going to help them do exactly that. We must stand with the Ukrainian people until they win – until we all win,” reinforced Yvan Baker, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke Centre

In reaffirming Canada’s unwavering support for Ukraine at recent international forums, Minister Blair reiterated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge to stand with Ukraine for as long as necessary, emphasizing Canada’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people in their struggle for freedom and sovereignty.

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