Event Summary – The Role of Helicopters in Guarding Coastal Sovereignty

The Montreal-Ottawa Chapter returned to the Ottawa region for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, with an event on April 11th at General Dynamics Mission Systems – Canada (GDMS-C).

Mark McKeeman from Transport Canada started the event with a presentation on marine wildlife surveillance in the St. Lawrence Gulf, highlighting the use of remotely piloted aerial systems (RPAS) and the transition from unmanned fixed-wing to VTOL RPAS. In addition to discussing aeronautical and operational challenges, Mark delved into the application of artificial intelligence for identifying marine wildlife from images.

Following Mark’s presentation, two GDMS-C experts addressed maritime helicopter challenges from operational and integration perspectives. Tim Garriok shared insights from a pilot’s viewpoint, discussing the challenges of operating a military helicopter at sea. Jeremy Graaskamp then outlined the engineering challenges involved in integrating highly complex technologies while ensuring user actions remain simple. He explained the intricate interaction between systems required for the proper deployment of sonobuoys.

The VFS and the Montreal-Ottawa chapter extend their sincere gratitude to the speakers for generously volunteering their time to support the event, as well as to the active and engaged chapter members who attended. Special appreciation is also extended to the dedicated GDMS-C volunteers whose efforts contributed to the event’s success. Looking ahead to 2024, more opportunities for learning, networking, and growth await, including Forum 80 at the Montreal Palais des Congrès on May 7-9, 2024.