Ottawa seeking helicopters, drones to extend Afghan mission
The federal government is currently in negotiations to acquire large helicopters and unmanned surveillance drones in an attempt to satisfy two conditions set out in the Manley report for extending the Afghanistan mission, CBC News has learned.
The government is trying to secure a deal with at least two American helicopter manufacturers to either lease or buy helicopters that would provide transport for Canadian troops in Kandahar, CBC News has learned.
Earlier this week, the government released a tender for the surveillance drones.
The Manley report recommended that the government extend its mission in Afghanistan past the February 2009 deadline, but only if NATO was able to provide an additional 1,000 troops to bolster Canadian forces fighting in the south.
The Manley panel also demanded the government find access to unmanned surveillance drones and large helicopters to ferry Canadian troops around the region.
CBC News has learned the government intends to meet both of these requirements on its own, which would take pressure off its NATO allies, allowing them to focus on finding the additional troops the Manley panel recommended.
The drones and helicopters were each discussed on this forum before but in light of the Manley report the issue seems to have a new sense of urgency. I wonder who the suppliers will be?