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Fully autonomous: What's known about Canadian SkyRanger R70 drones donated to Ukraine

Fully autonomous: What's known about Canadian SkyRanger R70 drones donated to Ukraine Drone SkyRanger R70 (Photo: unmanned-aerial com)
Author: Daria Shekina

Ukraine will receive over 800 multipurpose drones SkyRanger R70 from Canada to assist in the war against the Russian Federation.

Read about the unique features of these drones and their advantages in frontline use in the material by RBC-Ukraine.

The material used data from the Canadian Ministry of Defense website, Defence Express, and

Purpose of drones

From the very beginning, SkyRanger R70 drones were developed for surveillance and reconnaissance purposes. However, they can also be used for transportation and cargo delivery. As noted by the Canadian government, this drone is one of the best in the world.

"These drones are critical for surveillance and intelligence gathering, and can also be used to transport and deliver supplies," the Canadian government's statement said.

Their delivery to Ukraine is set to begin in the spring.

The drones were purchased from Teledyne FLIR for over $70.36 million. The contract also includes the provision of spare parts and drone maintenance services.

The estimated cost of one such drone is $87,500. However, this amount is not the price for the drone itself, but for the payload and software capabilities.

Equipment of SkyRanger R70

The SkyRanger R70 is a multi-role unmanned aerial system developed by Teledyne FLIR.

It consists of a multi-rotor vertical takeoff and landing drone capable of performing reconnaissance and logistical functions. Additionally, it is equipped with an autonomous navigation system. According to the manufacturer, this allows the drone to operate under manual or autonomous control without relying on satellite signals.

The onboard computer of the SkyRanger has real-time artificial intelligence capabilities. It can automatically detect targets up to 5 kilometers away and identify up to 10 moving objects simultaneously.

Four special computer vision cameras enable autonomous operations and flights in GPS-denied environments.

However, its most important capability is its ability to detect vehicles, people, and other sources of heat from a long distance, in any weather conditions, and even in darkness.

Specifications of SkyRanger R70

SkyRanger R70 drones are constructed from a carbon fiber and magnesium frame. They can operate at altitudes of up to 4500 meters above sea level, and withstand sustained winds of 65 km/h, and gusts of up to 90 km/h.

Additionally, they can carry payloads of up to 3.5 kg, including radios, ground sensors, first aid kits, etc. This capability allows the drone to be used not only for reconnaissance but also as a cargo delivery vehicle or for dropping ammunition.

The drones that will be delivered to Ukraine will be equipped with cameras with a thermal imaging channel for detecting thermal contrast targets and operating in low-light conditions. Presumably, these are EO IR Mk II optical stations with thermal and daylight channels.

Canada's assistance to Ukraine

In June of last year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an official visit to Kyiv. Following the visit, he announced that the Canadian government would provide Ukraine with a new package of military aid worth $500 million Canadian dollars (over $370 million USD). Ottawa will also participate in the aviation coalition.

Later, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed with Trudeau the strengthening of anti-aircraft defense.

The leaders also discussed strengthening the protection of Ukrainian airspace.