The federal government is investing $75 million in drone technology that it says will be used to fight terrorism and “help keep Canadians safe.”
Industry Minister James Moore made the announcement at the Burlington, Ont. headquarters of L-3 WESCAM on Monday, explaining that the federal government would make a repayable contribution of $75 million to the company, through the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI).
The investment is meant to support WESCAM’s research and development of new high-tech air, land and sea surveillance cameras and sensors “that are essential to Canada’s defence, security, and search and rescue operations.”
The surveillance cameras and sensors will be used by the RCMP and military to target terrorists and other criminals, both in Canada and overseas.
Moore added that the investment will also lead to the creation of several high-paying, high-tech jobs across southern Ontario’s defence manufacturing supply chain.
L-3 WESCAM has announced previous deals to sell technology and services to agencies in the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Ireland, and the United States.
WESCAM’s cameras have played a significant role in countering insurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2005.
As well, in 2014, a Transport Canada aircraft equipped with a WESCAM heat sensor was instrumental in the capture of Justin Bourque, the gunman responsible for the death of three RCMP officers in Moncton, New Brunswick.