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Drone Surveillance In Arctic Waters

Drones can be very beneficial when it comes to surveillance. Also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, drones provide benefits such as decreased risks, relatively lower costs, the ability to house advanced technologies, and more.

Because of this, Transport Canada is looking to employ a drone to patrol the Canadian Arctic. They are looking to enhance their efforts in monitoring things such as ice and oil spills. Currently, three manned airplanes are handling the job – one over each the Atlantic and the Pacific, and the third based in Ottawa for the Arctic.

With manned aircraft, the need for a qualified pilot on board can limit flight times, and some areas are simply too difficult and dangerous for the pilot to access.

Drones, however, are compact, can last longer, and can also reach more difficult areas. Without having to wait for skilled personnel, drones are flexible when it comes to flight and coverage times. They can also be modified with the appropriate technologies and devices for more comprehensive and effective surveillance.

The ideal drone would possess sensors, ground control equipment, and satellite communications, along with maintenance support including spare parts. The drone would need the capabilities to identify and track oil slicks, icebergs, whales, and foreign fishing vessels, to name a few. The necessary range would be at least 6,500km, and it would need to be able to track its target for at least six hours.

A likely candidate would be the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk, valued at about $300 million per new aircraft. The U.S. military already actively uses these Global Hawks.

We have yet to see if Transport Canada’s wishes come to fruition. Do you think drones would be a more efficient way to patrol the seas? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also find us on Vine.

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