A hangar for the plane was originally expected to be completed by 2022 to 2023 and cost $29.7 million. The project is now estimated to cost more than double that — $64.4 million — and be completed around 2024 to 2025.
Furthermore, the report says the agency has not developed a lifecycle replacement plan for the plane.
Transport Canada is in the process of procuring a remotely piloted aircraft system, which is scheduled for delivery in early 2023. It’s expected to operate mainly out of Iqaluit, but won’t be able to until the hangar is complete.
The report recommends to address delays in delivering replacement equipment, and that federal departments come up with contingency plans in case satellites, ships or aircraft cease to operate before they are replaced.
The report also flags what it described as weakness in satellite surveillance capabilities.
In 2019, three satellites were launched as part of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission. The satellites are expected to operate until 2026.
Agencies also rely on the RADARSAT-2 satellite, a predecessor of the constellation mission, which launched in 2007. It was designed to operate until 2015, but is still in use.
The report says the government acknowledges it will be another decade before the Canadian Space Agency will launch a successor, leaving a gap to fill.
It says National Defence has started a project to have its own satellite system, but it is not expected to become operational until 2035.
Leblanc says the best way to do surveillance is from space, something he says should be done daily.
“Once the satellites come to the end of their lives it’s going to be a real issue.”