Canada is spending nearly $ 5 million to improve continental defense, Anand says

Canada will spend $ 4.9 billion over the next six years to modernize continental defense, Defense Minister Anita Anand said Monday.

Anand made the long-awaited announcement of the upgrade of NORAD at the Canadian Army’s main air base in Trenton, Ont.

“NORAD has continuously adapted and evolved in response to new threats. Today we turn another page and begin the next chapter of NORAD,” the minister said amid a backdrop of flags and an aging CF-18 fighter .

TARGET | Canada investing almost $ 5 million in modernizing NORAD, but is it enough?

Canada investing almost $ 5 million in modernizing NORAD, but is it enough?

Retired General Tom Lawson, a former Canadian Army senior commander, values ​​the federal government’s plan to invest in improving continental defense.

The figure represents Canada’s share of the cost of revising the decades-old joint air defense joint command, originally designed to monitor Soviet bombers. The project was not part of the 2017 Liberal government defense policy document.

The United States covers about 60% of the NORAD bill.

The cash is expected to come out of the latest federal budget, which set aside up to $ 8 billion in new funding beyond the defense appropriations increases the Liberal government had already accepted. Up to $ 6 billion of this money went to a variety of commitments, including the modernization of NORAD.

LOOK: Defense Minister Anita Anand announces money for NORAD reform

The Minister of Defense announces $ 4.9 billion to modernize NORAD

Defense Minister Anita Anand says the money will be used to revise the binational joint air defense command decades ago.

The nature of NORAD has changed in recent years, as it has taken on additional responsibilities to monitor seaway approaches in North America and protect itself from cyberattacks.

The revision of NORAD will include the replacement of the northern warning system, a chain of radar stations at the northern end. The system will eventually be replaced by two different types of radar systems, one northern and one polar, which have the ability to look above the horizon.

The review will also deploy new satellites built to track ground-moving targets and a series of top-secret remote sensors.

The new network will monitor not only the Arctic, NORAD’s traditional domain, but also the Pacific and Atlantic approaches to the continent.

Military experts have long warned that NORAD’s current surveillance system is not built to track cruise missiles: weapons fired from submarines or from outside American airspace. Nor is it configured to deal with hypersonic missiles, which travel at many times the speed of sound.

A Russian military technician checks a Russian Air Force MiG-31K fighter carrying a Kinzhal hypersonic cruise missile parked in an airfield on February 19, 2022. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service / The Associated Press)

Both weapons systems have played a prominent role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The environment of the threat has changed,” Anand said, answering a journalist’s question on Monday.

“As our threats evolve, so must our defensive capabilities. And what we want to do with this announcement today is make sure that, in every way, we are getting involved in the most important update and relevant to NORAD’s Canadian capabilities in nearly four decades. “

Asked if Canada will end its ban on participating in the U.S. ballistic missile (BMD) system, Anand said the government will maintain its current policy of non-involvement.

The defense chief of staff, General Wayne Eyre, gave a more nuanced response. He said the technology and the evolving nature of the threat have gone beyond the nearly two-decade-long political debate over the BMD, and there may soon be other ways to shoot down incoming missiles.

“We’re seeing technology advancing so fast,” Eyre said. “That’s why the R&D component of this package is so important because we’re going to have to keep an eye on the … threats to ensure that our defenses keep pace.”

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