OTTAWA _ Canada is inching closer to the purchase of armed drones for its military as details around how the controversial weapons will be used are starting to come together.
Royal Canadian Air Force commander Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger tells The Canadian Press that a formal request for bids between the two dronemakers shortlisted for the multibillion-dollar competition is scheduled to kick off in the fall.
At the same time, Meinzinger says preparations are underway so the military is ready to begin using the unmanned aircraft when they start to arrive in the next three to four years.
Meinzinger says the current plan is to have a central hub in Ottawa where pilots will fly their drones by remote control on missions in Canada or around the world.
The aircraft themselves will be split into two squadrons and located at two bases in Canada, one in the east and the other out west, where they will be maintained.
Some have criticized the government’s decision to buy armed drones given concerns about their potential use in Canada and numerous reports of airstrikes by other nations, particularly the United States, causing civilian casualties.