General Dynamics Mission Systems is to open a US$18 million R&D and test center for autonomous aircraft in Québec and has invested in Canada-based unmanned aircraft developer Laflamme Aero.
The Centre of Excellence for remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) technologies is to be established in Sherbrooke, Québec at a cost of US$18 million, half of which has been contributed by the Government of Québec.
The Centre will initially create up to 45 highly skilled engineering and technical jobs.
General Dynamics has also bought a share of Canadian-aerospace firm Laflamme Aero and will support the development of its LX300 tandem rotor RPAS platform. Laflamme Aero, which also counts the Government of Québec as a shareholder, will further develop and industrialize the LX300 for new markets at the Centre, General Dynamics said.
The LX300 is a tandem-rotor aircraft intended for use in the defense applications in challenging environments. The aircraft, which is remotely controlled from a ground station and was first revealed in 2019, can also be configured industrial and agricultural use.
David Ibbetson, vice president and general manager of General Dynamics Mission Systems–International said, “The Centre of Excellence will position Québec at the leading edge of emerging RPAS technology and advanced autonomous airborne mission systems integration.
“Remotely Piloted Aircrafts are the future of aerospace and our investment will generate Québec and Canadian intellectual property, create and enhance domestic capacity, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs – while developing world-leading RPAS technologies to address the growing needs of Canada and countries across the globe.”
General Dynamics said it has already developed a mission-ready Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) suite to meet the requirements of RPAS opportunities.
Enrick Laflamme, president of Laflamme Aero said, “This support positions Laflamme for the future. What began as a passion for aviation from my father has become something much larger. With the support of Investissement Québec and General Dynamics, we now have the opportunity to leverage our success and compete on a larger scale – both at home and abroad.