Canada to Donate 800 SkyRanger R70 Drones to Ukraine

Delivery of the small unmanned aerial systems will begin in the spring.

Canada’s donation adds to Teledyne FLIR’s unmanned systems and counter-drone technology currently in use by Ukrainian forces. [Courtesy: Teledyne FLIR]

Canada is donating 800 SkyRanger R70 uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) to aid Ukraine in its fight against Russia, its top defense official announced.

The move comes less than two weeks after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy created a separate military branch devoted to unmanned system forces.

The small, multirotor Teledyne FLIR SkyRanger drones are manufactured in Waterloo, Ontario. They feature automated and autonomous navigation systems, which allow them to deploy surveillance for detecting and identifying enemy targets. They are also capable of carrying up to nearly 8 pounds of payload, including munitions.

"These drones are critical for surveillance and intelligence gathering and can also be used to transport and deliver supplies," the Canadian government said in a statement. "Canada is working with Ukraine on a training plan and delivery schedule, with delivery expected to begin this spring."

Canada's $95 million donation in military gear comes less than a week after it also pledged $60 million for setting up Ukraine's F-16 fighter capability through supplies, spare parts, avionics, and ammunition.

“As we approach the second anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion, Canada stands firmly with Ukraine in defense of freedom and democracy,” said Bill Blair, Canada’s minister of national defense, in a statement. “In coordination with our allies and partners, we will continue to provide Ukraine with the military aid that it needs to fight and win this war. [This] announcement ensures that Ukraine has the drones it needs to detect and identify targets which are critical to Ukraine’s ongoing fight. Canada will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

Following Russia's invasion in February 2022, drones have provided a force multiplier for Ukrainian forces.

Earlier this week, for example, Ukrainian drone operators located a warehouse in southern Ukraine that housed Russian army T-72 and T-80 tanks prepositioned for a planned offensive. The drone pilots flew the armed drones through the warehouse doors left open and "systematically demolished the vehicles inside," Forbes reported.

The war has turned Ukraine into a "giant war lab and confirmed the status of drones as the weapons of the future," an Atlantic Council report said Wednesday. "With Ukraine no longer assured of further military aid from the U.S. and increasingly obliged to ration ammunition, drones are a cost-effective solution that plays to the country’s tech sector strengths."

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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