The need for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to acquire an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) was identified by the Department of National Defence as far back as October 2000 when the Joint Unmanned Surveillance and Target Acquisition System (JUSTAS) program was launched. In 2007, the program officially entered the Options Analysis phase where costs and benefits are assessed, and a business case developed.
The Artemis UAS will be an enhanced Canadian version of IAI’s Heron TP platform and offers significant security and economic benefits to Canada.
Domestically, the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) will provide a strengthened ability for surveillance of the maritime and northern approaches to Canada and support for 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 – such as response to forest fires or floods – and assistance to law enforcement agencies operations.
With its powerful, Canadian-made, 1,200 shaft horsepower Pratt & Whitney Turbo-Prop PT6 engine, the Artemis UAS is capable of speeds, climb rates, and altitudes that are unmatched in the Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) category. Equipped with an anti-icing system and capable of altitudes greater than 45,000 feet, it is ideal for northern operations.
L3Harris’ division, located in Mirabel, Quebec has teamed with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to offer IAI’s Heron TP aircraft for Canada’s RPAS (formerly JUSTAS) program. L3Harris and IAI, or Team Artemis, will adapt the Heron TP to meet specific and demanding Canadian requirements associated with very challenging geographic and environmental conditions, at which point the aircraft and Ground Control Station (GCS) will be known as the Artemis UAS.