January 10, 2013. By David Pugliese - Defence Watch
The Canadian Forces will need at least 369 people if it wants to create a new squadron for unmanned aircraft that was promised more than six years ago by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The squadron will require that number of personnel Defence Minister Peter MacKay has been told, according to documents obtained by the Citizen.
The details of the program, called the Joint Uninhabited Surveillance and Target Acquisition System or JUSTAS, were provided to MacKay in 2010 by then Maj.-Gen. Tom Lawson in an update on how the proposed purchase was progressing.
In the run-up to the 2006 election, Harper promised that under a Conservative government Goose Bay in Newfoundland-Labrador would become home to a new 650-member military rapid reaction unit as well as a new squadron operating long-range UAVs. Once in power in 2006 the Conservatives reiterated their pledge to create the rapid response unit at Goose Bay as well as the UAV squadron. The government has not followed through with either promise.
I asked the RCAF where it would get 369 personnel from but I didn’t get a straight answer on that. Everything is in the options analysis phase was the response…..the same response that has been offered for several years now.
Defence Watch, however, has been told by sources that JUSTAS has lost one of its key officers assigned to the project…yet another indication the project is in trouble and a 369-member UAV unit is not in the planning stages anytime soon.
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