Canada has offered to buy a mothballed high altitude surveillance drone from Germany as it gets ready to deploy drones for long range patrol duties, particularly in the North. Although the drone program has been discussed for more than a decade, Canada’s bid for the prototype Euro Hawk aircraft, which is a derivative of the Northrop Global Hawk platform, has raised some eyebrows. The jet-powered drone has been stripped of most of its systems and would require a lot of work to get flying again. A German politician told Reuters the drone, which originally cost Germany about $800 million, “has salvage value at best.” Germany has since abandoned its drone program.
NATO is apparently also considering bidding on the Euro Hawk, possibly for parts for the five brand new drones its buying from Northrop. Canada is under pressure to step up its monitoring of the North as Russia expands its military and resource exploration presence in the Arctic. Drones are also being considered for monitoring oil spills, ice conditions and marine habitats. But the German drone was designed for mainly signals intelligence gathering and would need different surveillance gear for the role being considered by Canada.