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Specialized drones manufactured in Simcoe County aim to help Ukraine


A Barrie-area drone company is building new technology that could be used to evade radar and help prevent attacks in Ukraine.

Volatus Aerospace teamed up with Aerovel to build a surveillance drone capable of flying thousands of feet in the air and staying there for 30 hours.

This new technology comes as the company says Russians have gained access to jamming and spoofing previous drones used in the war.

"This allows them to either stop the DJI or Autel drones from operating or allows Russian snipers to locate the drone pilot and kill him," said Volatus in a statement.

Former British Military pilot and current vice president of solutions engineering for Voltus, Dean Attridge, said the non-lethal tool would be able to help Ukrainian troops find, prepare and counter long-range missile attacks.

"This system in the hands of Ukrainians, the artillery systems that of the Russians, can be pushed further back across the border and save considerable life," said Attridge.

Lubomyr Chabursky, a member of Myria Aid - a Ukrainian aid organization based in Canada, has been delivering equipment, drones and supplies to Ukrainian troops since the war began.

He told CTV News that Ukrainian troops need cutting-edge technology now to compete, and this new ISTAR drone is essential.

"Lives are at stake every day and every week that it takes for drones to be delivered to the front lines," said Chabursky.

But before the drones can be sent to the frontlines, they need to be approved by the Canadian government.

Global Affairs told CTV News in an email, "All export permit applications for controlled items continue to be reviewed under Canada's robust risk assessment framework."

It went on to write that it can't provide details about the commercial activities of Canadian companies with regard to export permits.

"Canada remains committed to working with NATO Allies and international partners on a comprehensive and coordinated response to support Ukraine against Russian aggression."

Christian Leuprecht, a professor in political science and economics at Royal Military College and Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., explained that sending advanced drones or other military tools to Ukraine sends a message to the Kremlin.

"So this isn't just about tactics on the battlefield. It's about western allies signalling to the Russians that they need to be careful how they escalate because escalation will be met by more significant weapon systems."

At this time, it remains unclear if or when the Canadian government will approve the ISTAR drones.

Volatus Aerospace said once it is given the green light, its partner Aerovel will increase its production in Simcoe County, adding that Volatus would provide drone trainers to help Ukrainian troops learn the new technology.

According to Volatus, six ISTAR drones are ready to be shipped and it will have an additional three within the next month. Top Stories

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