Canadian Forces Mini UAV Project – Industry News Release – Sept
Thales Canada — News Release — CU-168 Skylark Mini
The Canadian Forces has experimented with several mini UAV types (including the ACR CU-167 Silver Fox which was a participant in DND's
ALIX tests in Atlantic Canada during August 2005). In March 2006, an Immediate Operational
Requirement was issued for five Elbit CU-168 Skylark
mini UAVs (along with options on 5 additional Skylark air vehicles) for use in
Afghanistan by summer of 2006.
Although the two different air vehicles and ground control systems are produced by different
manufacturers, both CF mini UAV projects are managed by Thales Canada.
Officially the 'Skylark Mini-UAV System Program' – managed by Thales Canada,
Systems Division – Skylark is the CF's first operationally-deployed mini UAV. In
November 2005, a DND backgrounder on equipment for OP Archer listed a contest for 10 mini UAVs.
Separate from the IOR purchase, it's unclear whether the contest continues or failed to pass
the Harper government's 2006 defence project moratorium.
A Thales Canada press release detailing features of the Elbit Skylark system follows.
Thales Silver Fox UAV Press
Ottawa, September 27, 2006
THALES' UAV SELECTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
Thales Canada has been selected by the Department of National Defence Land Forces to deliver a mini-UAV system
based on Elbit's Skylark technology. Thales Canada had already been
selected by the Canadian Forces Experimentation Centre (CFEC) for the Silver Fox UAV in
Virtually undetectable, with its steerable payload (stabilized to provide excellent video quality) and modular
design (allows for other payloads to meet Intelligence, Surveill- ance and Reconnaissance
requirements), Skylark offers a very flexible and resourceful system which will provide invaluable "over
the hill" visibility to the soldier. Driven by an electrically powered motor, it has a flight
endurance of up to 90 minutes. Designed to be soldier-friendly and highly portable, the Skylark
integrates three air vehicles into one backpack and has a ruggedized ground station and communications
Thales Canada, Systems Division, currently manages two UAV fleets for DND. The
Silver Fox UAV, from Advanced Ceramics Research, provided to CFEC, is a modular high
performance small UAV to evaluate concepts. With a payload of 4 Kg, an endur- ance of at least 8 hours
and equipped with a specially engineered gasoline engine, this system has been used by each of the three services
to explore UAV use.
Thales Canada, Systems Division, caters to DND requirements for Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles. Critical to the
role of performing as a Prime Contractor is understanding the customer's requirements and
then matching the best components, including the air vehicle, to provide the premium (value
and capability) solution.
Thales is [also] the Prime Contractor for the UK Watchkeeper UAV program, and has recently been
awarded a contract by the French defence procurement agency [ DGA, or la
délégation générale pour l'armement ] to examine armed UAV