Activities – Continental

NORAD Modernization

  • NORAD is the only bi-national military command in the world and has been a cornerstone of our continental defence and security for more than 60 years.
  • Since the establishment of NORAD, the threats facing North America have evolved significantly.
  • As laid out in my mandate letter, we will work with the United States to ensure that NORAD is modernized to meet current and future threats to North America in defence of our continent.
  • This means developing better surveillance, defence, and rapid-response capabilities in the maritime and air approaches to Canada.
  • National Defence’s All Domain Situational Awareness program is significantly contributing to these efforts. 
  • Canada’s defence relationship with the United States, with NORAD as the cornerstone, will remain strong.

Key Facts

  • NORAD missions:
    • aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning in defence of North America;
    • approximately 1,000 Canadian Armed Forces members support the NORAD mission throughout North America;
    • 3 forward locations to support fighter operations in the North: Inuvik, Iqaluit, and Yellowknife.
  • All Domain Situational Awareness program
    • $133 M over the past 5 years.

Details

  • The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a bi-national military organization established in 1958 by Canada and the United States (U.S.) to conduct aerospace warning and control in the defence of North America. The NORAD Agreement was renewed in perpetuity in 2006 and a maritime warning function added. This close cooperation has created unprecedented interoperability between the two countries.    
  • The NORAD missions of aerospace warning and control and maritime warning are conducted on a daily basis across North America. Key contributions to collective defence include northern sovereignty operations, missile launch detection and warning, and, increasingly, support to Head of State visits and high profile events (i.e. Vancouver 2010 Olympics, G8/G20 Toronto and G7 Charlevoix). Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, NORAD created Operation NOBLE EAGLE which provides the response to asymmetric air security threats occurring within North America, such as civilian aircraft being used as a weapon.
  • On 13 February 2020, NORAD Commander U.S. General O’Shaughnessy testified before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee where he fielded questions on 5G technology and U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) priorities. With regards to 5G technology, General O’Shaughnessy signaled the “consequences and rippling effects” of a decision to include Huawei in our infrastructure, not just from a national security perspective but from a bi-national NORAD command perspective. With regards to NORTHCOM priorities, the General listed layered ballistic missile defence capabilities as one of the three main items required by NORTHCOM to complete its mission.
  • Canada contributes financial, physical, and human resources to NORAD including:
    • approximately 1,000 Canadian Armed Forces members support the NORAD mission throughout North America;
    • fighter aircraft on alert and air-to-air refueling tankers on high readiness status;
    • the operation and maintenance of the Canadian portion of the North Warning System of radars; and
    • three forward locations in Inuvik, Iqaluit and Yellowknife to support fighter operations in the North.
  • National Defence has invested $133 million in the All Domain Situational Awareness (ADSA) Science and Technology Program. This will allow National Defence to identify, assess, and develop technologies to support potential surveillance solutions for enhanced domain awareness of air, maritime surface, and sub-surface approaches to Canada, particularly in the Arctic.
  • The surveillance solutions achieved under the ADSA S&T program support the Government of Canada’s ability to exercise sovereignty in the North and will provide a greater awareness of safety and security issues, and of transportation and commercial activity in Canada’s Arctic.
  • Working with the US, ADSA is also contributing to the first-ever bi-national Northern Approaches Surveillance Analysis of Alternatives, studying innovative technological solution to airspace surveillance.

Version 5; 2020-02-27 – Source: NORAD Modernization QP Note 2020-01-30.

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North Warning System

  • Canada is committed to strengthening continental defence to meet current and future threats to North America.
  • As laid out in my mandate letter, this means working with the United States to ensure that NORAD is modernized, including the renewal of the North Warning System.  
  • National Defence’s All Domain Situational Awareness program is a key aspect of these efforts. 
  • This program will produce new and innovative solutions to surveillance challenges in the North that will contribute to the renewal of the North Warning System.
  • We are committed to protecting the approaches to North America and continuing to work with the United States to advance our shared objectives.

Key Facts

  • North Warning System:
    • Constructed between 1986 and 1992;
    • 46 radar sites across Canada and 3 in Alaska;
    • In Canada: 10 long-range and 36 short-range radars, all unmanned.
  • Canada is responsible for 40% of the funding; US responsible for 60%.
  • Estimated operational life expectancy was 2025. The system will continue to be sustained and evolve in cooperation with our US partners under the NORAD agreement.
  • All Domain Situational Awareness program:
    • $133 million over the past 5 years.

Details

  • The North Warning System is a key NORAD capability and constitutes a chain of radar sites across northern Canada and Alaska established to detect and enable an early response to potential threats to North America approaching from the north. The North Warning System was planned to reach the end of its current estimated operational life as early as 2025. Sustainment of the system will continue beyond this point, and evolve in response to National Defence and NORAD, research and requirements.
  • Through Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Government committed to collaborate with the United States (U.S.) on the development of new technologies to improve Arctic surveillance and control, including the renewal of the North Warning System. This may include extending the life of current capabilities as required.
  • National Defence has invested $133 million in the All Domain Situational Awareness (ADSA) Science and Technology Program. This will allow National Defence to identify, assess, and develop technologies to support potential surveillance solutions for enhanced domain awareness of air, maritime surface, and sub-surface approaches to Canada, particularly in the Arctic.
  • In addition to contributing to joint efforts between Canada and the US to modernize elements of the NORAD Command, the surveillance solutions achieved under the ADSA S&T program support the Government of Canada’s ability to exercise sovereignty in the North and will provide a greater awareness of safety and security issues, and of transportation and commercial activity in Canada’s Arctic.
  • Canada and the U.S. established the Bi-National Steering Group, whose primary function is to facilitate the governance of a replacement capability for the North Warning System.
  • Working with the US, ADSA is also contributing to the first-ever bi-national Northern Approaches Surveillance Analysis of Alternatives, studying innovative technological solutions to airspace surveillance.

Version 5; 2020-03-09 – Source: Question Period Note 2020-01-30

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Arctic

  • This Government is enhancing the Canadian Armed Forces’ ability to operate in a changing Arctic security environment and to defend Canadian sovereignty.
  • In doing so, the Canadian Armed Forces also contributes to the collective defence of North America.
  • This means working to develop better surveillance, defence, and rapid-response capabilities in the North, including through:  
    • the acquisition of six new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels;
    • launching the process to procure 88 future generation fighter jets; and
    • working with the United States to renew the North Warning System.
  • We also maintain an active and persistent presence in the North through regular Canadian Armed Forces operations.
  • For example, we continue to work with the Canadian Rangers and deepen our relations with Indigenous communities at the heart of Canada’s North.
  • Our efforts will ensure that the Arctic and Northerners continue to be safe, secure, and well-defended.

Key Facts

  • Approximately 300 Canadian Armed Forces personnel stationed at Joint Task Force North and other units in Yellowknife.
  • Approximately 1,811 Rangers found in 60 communities across the Canadian Arctic.
  • Canadian Armed Forces infrastructure in the North includes:
    • The North Warning System;
    • Three NORAD forward operating locations in Iqaluit, Inuvik, and Yellowknife;
    • Canadian Forces Station Alert;
    • The Arctic Training Centre in Resolute Bay; and
    • Nanisivik Naval Facility.

Details

Operations in the North

  • Canada’s operations in the North include:
    • OP BOXTOP: The bi-annual resupply of Canadian Forces Station Alert and Fort Eureka.
    • OP LIMPID: The routine, and contingency, domestic surveillance and control in Canada’s air, maritime, land, and space domains.
    • OP NANOOK: A signature Arctic training operation, reinforces the CAF as a key partner and expert in Arctic safety, security, and defence.
    • OP NEVUS: An annual operation to perform maintenance on the High Arctic Data Communications System.

CAF Capabilities in the Arctic

  • Modernization ofthe CAF capabilities in the Arctic includes, amongst other projects, acquiring six new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships and supporting the modernization of the Inuvik Airport runway.
  • In Strong, Secured, Engaged, National Defence committed to acquiring next generation surveillance aircraft, remotely piloted systems for use in the Arctic, and a number of all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, and larger tracked vehicles optimized for use in the Arctic.

Arctic and Northern Policy Framework

  • In September 2019, Canada’s Minister of Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs released the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework, which   provides a long-term vision for federal activities in the Canadian and circumpolar Arctic through to 2030. The framework reinforces Arctic priorities set out in Strong Secured, Engaged and aligns with direction provided from the Prime Minister to the Minister of National Defence in the latest mandate letter.

Version 5; 2020-02-03 – Source: Committee of the Whole Note, 2019-12-07

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Search and Rescue

  • The Canadian Armed Forces conduct aeronautical search and rescue missions to help Canadians in need of assistance.
  • We are procuring a fleet of 16 Fixed-Wing aircraft to help modernize our search and rescue capability.
  • Ground testing of this new aircraft has begun, and the construction of a new training facility for aircrew and technicians in Comox is underway.
  • These aircraft will provide improved search and rescue capabilities over long ranges, in difficult weather conditions, and at night.
  • National Defence will continue to ensure its life-saving search and rescue capabilities are always ready to assist Canadians in need.

If pressed on Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft delays:

  • The review and amendment of the technical manuals, which are necessary for the safe operation of the fleet, is taking more time than originally estimated.
  • Steady progress is being made. We are optimistic that we remain on target for the arrival of the first aircraft in Comox, British Columbia in summer 2020.
  • In addition to the 16 aircraft that will be delivered, Airbus has recently delivered a training variant of the aircraft.
  • This aircraft arrived in Comox, British Columbia on February 4, 2020, to be installed in the new training centre.

Key Facts

  • Contract details for the 16 Fixed-Wing aircraft: $2.4B for 11 years
  • Approximately 950 CAF personnel provide search and rescue alongside the Canadian Coast Guard.
  • Search and Rescue minimum response times:
    • High readiness (40 hours/week) airborne within 30 minutes from tasking
    • All other hours, airborne within 2 hours from tasking
  • Current aircraft fleet
    • CH-149 Cormorant and CH-146 Griffon helicopters
    • CC-130H Hercules and CC-115 Buffalo fixed-wing aircraft

Details

  • Search and rescue is a shared responsibility among federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal organizations, as well as air, ground, and maritime volunteer organizations.
  • To facilitate aeronautical and maritime search and rescue incidents in Canada, the CAF provides aeronautical services, while the Canadian Coast Guard is responsible for the provision of maritime services.
  • Ground search and rescue operations are outside the Canadian Armed Forces mandate; however, they may assist province and territories during ground operations when requested.
  • The Royal Canadian Air Force operates in three search and rescue regions:
    • Halifax: covers eastern Québec, Atlantic Canada, and the waters of the North Atlantic;
    • Trenton: covers from the British Columbia-Alberta border to the North Pole and Québec City; and
    • Victoria: covers British Columbia, the Yukon, and a portion of the north-eastern Pacific Ocean.

Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft (FWSAR)

  • Canada is buying 16 Airbus CC-295 aircraft equipped with a state-of-the-art sensor suite which is expected to reduce search times; make searches more effective in all weather conditions, day and night, and at longer range; and increase interoperability with other search and rescue assets. As part of the Request for Proposal, Airbus was required to team up with Canadian companies and reinvest 100% of the contract value in Canada.
  • Five aircraft will be based at 19 Wing Comox, with two of those allocated to the Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue; three based at 17 Wing Winnipeg; three based at 8 Wing Trenton; and three based at 14 Wing Greenwood. The remaining two aircraft will be rotated through the four bases to cover periods where aircraft must undergo maintenance.

Version 5; 2020-02-26 – Source: Committee of the Whole Note, 2019-12-07

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