Queen's University

Canada considering use of Polar Hawks in the Arctic: Queen's University expert

2012-08-16

Queen’s University defence expert Richard Shimooka is available to comment on U.S. military giant Northrup Grumman’s proposal to sell Canada three, unarmed long-range Polar Hawks to patrol the Canadian Arctic. The drones would provide summer surveillance over the arctic and also monitor fires and floods.

“A potential purchase of the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 for northern surveillance presents several challenges and opportunities,” says Mr. Shimooka. “On the one hand the Polar Hawk provides unprecedented range and sensor capabilities that will do much to close the surveillance gap over the Arctic and along Canada's coasts. However these advantages must also be weighed against the system's immaturity and limitations. UAVs are accident prone, have communication issues at the best of times and are costly to purchase and operate. Furthermore it is questionable whether Canada requires persistent coverage over the North. While the Polar Hawk might emerge as a key part of defending our sovereignty, it’s unlikely to occur within the next decade and not before careful analysis occurs.”

Please note Mr. Shimooka is located in Vancouver and is only available after 1 pm EST for phone interviews.

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Anne Craig at 613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca or Michael Onesi at 613.533.6000 ext. 77513 or michael.onesi@queensu.at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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