Domestically, the RPAS will provide a strengthened ability for surveillance of the maritime and northern approaches to Canada, and support to search and rescue operations. The RPAS will allow the CAF to assist other government departments in support of special security events such as international summits, aid to the civil authorities, response to forest fires or floods, and assistance to law enforcement agency operations.

Overseas, the RPAS will be capable of detecting, recognizing, identifying, and tracking targets of interest in complex environments and integrating with the systems required to process and fuse the collected information into actionable intelligence.

The 2016 RFI for JUSTAS (now RPAS) discussed two roles for the capability: domestic and expeditionary. Each has its own challenges, but the northern domestic requirement is especially demanding because of extreme distances, high winds, unpredictable weather and long range communication difficulties.