With all respect to the guys that do the work, but some of the hyperbole getting thrown around doesn't really advance the debate. I think even the most ignorant civvie (myself included) recognizes that UAV's do not provide a complete solution. The question becomes what do they do well and are there opportunities to integrate them into a larger surveillance and interdiction model the provide better northern security than we have now?
Without being privileged to know OPSEC information like i) Aurora under-ice anti-submarine detection capabilities;
ii) Aurora patrol schedules (are they one a day, twice a week, once a month, or whatever); etc., much of the debate is restricted.
What I think we can agree on is we need a more constant footprint in the North and the more we can move to a 24/7 surveillance & interdiction model, the better.
With that in mind, we have two separate potential threats:
1) Surface Vessels passing through what we deem to be territorial waters.
2) Submarines passing through what we deem to be territorial waters.
Essentially, if we want to claim "sovereignty" over that waterway, then we need to be able to assert it.
Bluntly and as per a previous post I think that necessitates very visable demonstrations of power in that region, the most important being escorting heavy armed icebreakers for any surface vessel that wishes to traverse the waterway. Only after the flow of surface vessels is controlled (which I believe to be a benchmark in our sovereignty claim) does ASW in the arctic in any way hit my priority screen. (Of note, the importance of this investment is exactly why I haven't jumped on the SSK bandwagon due to the fact that with budget restrictions a new SSK purchase by its existance eliminates many other investments which I believe to be of greater importance).
RE: UAV's like Global Hawk being weapons-free - I cannot fathom any UAV ever replacing manned aircraft in the armed interdiction role. I think where they can play a significant role is in providing additional lower-cost patrols that otherwise we couldn't afford to execute. In short, UAV's will never be a replacement - but instead a supporting asset.