Canadian UAVs Inc. of Calgary, Alberta has selected MicroPilot Inc. of Stony Mountain, Manitoba to be the autopilot provider for our new fixed wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) tailored for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) missions.
In the summer of 2020, Canadian UAVs received the first ever commercial Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) permitting UAV operations at BVLOS distances in unrestricted airspace. This permit was a culmination of five years experience operating industry-leading UAVs, employing robust training and procedural development, and creating the SparrowhawkTM Radar solution. Sparrowhawk is low-cost, ground-based, suitable for aircraft detection and tracking to 15 km, and approved by Transport Canada for BVLOS operations in the Alberta oil sands. It provides detect and avoid (DAA) capability when the UAV is flying long range missions in multi-use airspace.
To effectively utilize this increase in range, Canadian UAVs, through project SkySensus, has invested in a small (less than 25kg) fixed wing UAV that we have named the Whiskyjack, inspired by the tough and fearless Canadian jay. The Whiskyjack is gasoline powered, with an operational range of 30 km and up to 5-hour endurance, fully loaded. Its suite of sensors makes possible the scanning of an entire oil sands mine in a single flight, all without ever stepping foot inside the perimeter.
“Our primary focus is always safety. When it came time to outfit the Whiskyjack with an autopilot, we selected the triple redundant MP21283X from MicroPilot. As a Canadian company operating in this field for over 26 years, MicroPilot has the track record and technical aptitude to deliver a quality product we can use for years to come.”
John Molberg, Vice President of Canadian UAVs
“It’s an honor to work with a professional UAV operator like Canadian UAVs,” says Howard Loewen, President of MicroPilot Inc. “We are very excited about the BVLOS SFOC issued to Canadian UAVs and look forward to the flights this winter.”
MicroPilot has also teamed with Lockheed Martin CDL Systems (LM CDL) in Calgary to integrate their autopilot with LM CDL’s industry leading ground control station (GCS) software called VCSi. The VCS family of products has been used for over 25 years to fly the highest value military and commercial UAV assets worldwide. This integration was a critical enabler for Canadian UAVs, as VCSi was our preferred GCS software provider, and already comes bundled with Sparrowhawk.
“The partnerships with MicroPilot and Lockheed Martin are pillars in our strategy to develop the next generation of BVLOS operations where the unmanned system is fully integrated with a DAA solution providing real-time scalable deconfliction for all airspace classes. MicroPilot is the most experienced autopilot manufacturer in Canada and our combined solution represents the best–of–breed in-country solution for advanced commercial and military operations.”
Sean Greenwood, President of Canadian UAVs
This work has all been enabled by Peraton Canada through the SkySensus Project. SkySensus is a massive investment in Unmanned Systems in Canada through the Federal ITB Policy that requires companies awarded defence procurement contracts to undertake business activity in Canada equal to the value of the contract. The SkySensus project is funded and led by Peraton Canada for the research and development, and commercialization of Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) technology in unmanned systems. The objective of the project is to drive advancements and innovation of unmanned systems operations, big data analytics, airworthiness standards and training, and brings together a consortium of Alberta-based small businesses.
Canadian UAVs will be conducting extensive testing of the Whiskyjack this winter at the Foremost UAS Test Range with the intention of entering it into operational service for our clients in 2021.