Canada’s government said Tuesday it will buy 11 armed drones from US manufacturer General Atomics for foreign military deployments as well as coastal monitoring and disaster relief.
The 2.49 billion Canadian dollar ($1.87 billion) price tag includes ground control stations, hangars, and an initial batch of Hellfire missiles, as well as training.
The MQ-9B drones are expected to be delivered in 2028.
Defense Minister Bill Blair said the purchase will ensure that Canada “has a modern, adaptable military that is prepared to respond to evolving and emerging security challenges.”
According to a statement, the drones will be stationed at Canadian Pacific and Atlantic coast bases, as well as the Arctic.
Capable of flying 7,200 kilometers (4,473 miles) and staying in the air for more than 28 hours, they will be used on overseas missions with allies but also to monitor Canada’s vast territory and long coastline.
The drones could also support civilian emergency responses to forest fires and floods, the military said.
The drone purchase comes as the Canadian Air Force has been upgrading its aging fleet of aircraft with new F-35 fighter jets, tanker aircraft, spy planes, and rescue helicopters.