Arctic Surveillance – Civilian Commercial Aerial Surveillance Options for the Arctic


  1. Brookes, D.
  2. Scott, D.F.
  3. Rudkin, P.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Ottawa, Ottawa ONT (CAN)
The heightened interest in the Arctic has prompted the Canadian Government to investigate effective and affordable methods of monitoring this vast area, including private sector airborne surveillance. This study was accomplished with domain expertise from Provincial Aerospace Limited of St. John’s, NL; it describes their current worldwide surveillance, reconnaissance and enforcement activities, and extrapolating them to Canada’s North. Similar arctic services would require supplementing their current fleet with manned aircraft out of Goose Bay or Iqaluit and one at Inuvik, providing surveillance of up to 4000 h/year at approximately $5000/h with 8 h missions every 1.5 to 2 days. This would allow monitoring of the arctic approaches and internal waterways on a regular basis at roughly half the cost of an Aurora. Small Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPV) for tactical surveillance and reconnaissance were also briefly studied. New miniaturized devices allow small RPVs with limited payload capacities to carry a mixture of electro-optic and infrared sensors, Automatic Identification System receivers, miniature (short range) Synthetic Aperture Radars, etc. These platforms offer much smaller requirements for fuel, maintenance and operating crews, at a lower cost. However, they must still prove their capabilities in the harsh Arctic environment.

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Report Number
DRDC-OTTAWA-TR-2013-142 — Technical Report
Date of publication
01 Nov 2013
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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