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Report of the SC on National Defence: "Canada and the Defence of North America"

MarkOttawa

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US patience definitely fraying--and what about endless RCAF fighter dithering, and what bucks for NORAD upgrading?

U.S. sent ‘blunt’ letter to Canada criticizing defence spending: sources

Canada has been officially called out by the United States over how much it spends on the military, Global News has learned.

A “blunt” letter from the U.S. government was delivered to the Department of National Defence that criticized Canadian defence spending levels and repeated American demands that Canada meet NATO targets.

Global News has not seen the letter — said to have a frustrated, critical tone — but multiple sources have confirmed it was sent and received...

One Canadian source told Global News that the U.S. is concerned that Canada does not take the threat from those countries in the Arctic seriously and wants the country to boost its contributions in that area...

The U.S. sending such a letter is an unusual, formal means of relaying a message, and it represents an escalation from previous attempts to get Canada to spend more on its military.

That pressure has been increasing in recent weeks ahead of the NATO summit in London starting on Dec. 3.

In fact, the same message has been conveyed in multiple ways to the federal government, a diplomatic source said, and NATO itself also wants to see more military spending from Canada...
https://globalnews.ca/news/6210623/canada-defence-spending-nato/

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Navy_Pete

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So if our GDP is $1.6 trillion, anyone have any idea how we could actually spend $32 billion a year?  Even if you lumped in the capitol projects, we simply don't have the infrastructure in place to expand our forces that much without a significant expansion, at a time when we can't recruit enough to keep up with normal retention losses. That's not a quick fix, and would need a planned 10 year+ effort.  The GoC could give DND that much tomorrow, but we simply could not spend it. There isn't enough capacity in the purchasing side, and the bureaucracy adds years of lead time to any big ticket project (unless there is a war on, but then other ongoing work gets pushed to the backburner due to lack of capacity).

If there is another world war, it's already too late, and we simply don't have the manufacturing capacity anymore to ramp up like in WWI or WWII, given the global nature of the high tech equipment supply chain.

I can't see this happening; think the closest we'll get is some fancy accounting that lumps in portions of the CCG, and gets pretty loose and fast with how they count the spending on large capitol projects like the NSS.
 

MARS

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Cloud Cover said:
Ok. Name something that is realistic and highly likely (but not certain) to happen to Canada that would give the PMO any reason at all to care.

More tariffs imposed by the US...
 

LoboCanada

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We won't do anything, Canada already hates the US even more with 45, less likely to want to bend to his pressure or any pressure from the US. How did we react to the first tariffs?

They (USA) should impose tariffs that would bridge the gap between what we actually pay (before lumping in Veterans and RCMP, plus whatever Air Canada's gas bill is...) and 2% of our GDP. They'd call it a defence 'protection' tariff.

Pays for their protection which US citizens partially pay for ours already + we're incentivised to put up 2% GDP. Hell, do it NATO-wide to whoever else seems as reluctant as us.
 

daftandbarmy

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MARS said:
More tariffs imposed by the US...

Exactly. Trump's using the tariffs to help disrupt the supply chains that outsource to other countries, and realign them to internal to US sources. Canada and Mexico are the closest, and most obvious, targets.
 

MarkOttawa

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And how much will US want us to spend on upgrading North Warning System--and how much will Trudeau gov't be willing to spend and when?

NORTHCOM commander says US needs Arctic early warning system

The top general for U.S. Northern Command says the U.S. needs to invest in an early warning system for the Arctic similar to the series of radar stations built in 1957 that became known as the Distant Early Warning Line, or DEW line.

“We have to be aware of what is happening in that environment,” Air Force Gen. Terrence John O’Shaughnessy, the commander of U.S. NORTHCOM and North American Aerospace Defense Command, said Saturday at the Halifax International Security Forum.

It’s the latest concern that top military officials have raised about military readiness in the Arctic. Investment there has been limited in recent years despite growing competition for new sea routes and resources in the frozen tundra that is now pushing U.S. defense planners to revamp training, equipment and infrastructure to confront the rising challenge.

Getting American troops to the fight in the Arctic is a complicated mission as the frigid environment complicates tasks that would be simpler in other geographic locations or commands, O’Shaughnessy said.

The U.S. military has the capability to rapidly deploy American forces and equipment all over the globe, but “that’s different in the Arctic, it’s very difficult,” O’Shaughnessy said. The U.S. military needs to innovate and address training gaps to operate effectively in the Arctic, he said.

The U.S. appears to lag behind rivals like Russia, which has deployed thousands of troops to the Arctic for exercises — and according to a Reuters story is expected to field 13 polar icebreakers by 2035. Russia launched its first nuclear-powered icebreaker in May.

The U.S. has only one working heavy icebreaker dubbed the Polar Star, with several more in the pipeline. The Coast Guard — which commands the ice breaking mission — awarded a $745 million contract to VT Halter Marine for design and construction of the next icebreaker.

But it’s not just ships that the U.S. military needs to confront rising national security challenges in the Arctic. Stuck in the Middle East for the last 20 years, the U.S. military is in the process of revamping training and equipment to handle the harsh frigid environment of the Arctic...
https://www.militarytimes.com/flashpoints/2019/11/26/northcom-commander-says-us-needs-arctic-early-warning-system/

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SeaKingTacco

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Our current government could actually spin this to their advantage:

In the name of getting new northern infrastructure and jobs for first nations up north, the Govt also get us closer to that 2% defence/GDP that the Americans would like to see out of us.
 

Czech_pivo

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daftandbarmy said:
Exactly. Trump's using the tariffs to help disrupt the supply chains that outsource to other countries, and realign them to internal to US sources. Canada and Mexico are the closest, and most obvious, targets.

What is the US just decided to kick us out of NORAD, put  a bunch more stats over the North, increased nuc sub patrols in our waters, without telling us as we’d be hard pressed to know in the first place and then told us that they’d take down any threats directly over Canadian airspace with or without our approvals and, oh ya, seize the Alberta oil fields in a time of war to ensure that they didn’t fall into the wrong hands.

What could we really do other than cry to the worlds press and shout mea culpa mea culpa.
 

MarkOttawa

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Now US going hard for lasers to kill cruise missiles--big problem for NORAD, ALCMs from Russkie bombers, SLCMs from subs in North Atlantic area:

EXCLUSIVE Killing Cruise Missiles: Pentagon To Test Rival Lasers
DoD is finalizing contracts for three competing demonstrators, aiming for a 300-kilowatt weapon by 2022 and 500 kW by 2024, laser R&D director Thomas Karr told us.

The Army, Air Force, and Navy may be only three years away from a 300-kilowatt laser weapon, one powerful enough to shoot down cruise missiles — using the same basic technology as the checkout counter at your local supermarket.
DoD photo

“We are in the process of negotiating contracts with three different performers for three different electrically powered laser concepts,” Thomas Karr, who works for Pentagon R&D chief Mike Griffin as assistant director for directed energy, said. (DE includes both lasers and high-powered microwaves). These will be demonstration models for testing, not prototypes of operational weapons, he emphasized in an interview with Breaking Defense.

Industry has proposed several designs that “have all been demonstrated at lower power levels, 50 to 150 kilowatts,” Karr said. Those power levels are enough to burn through drones and rockets, but not larger, faster and tougher targets like cruise missiles.

“We want to have a 300-kilowatt laser by 2022. We’d like to get up to 500 kilowatts by 2024,” he said, “and then, if we still haven’t hit the limit of anything, it’s on to the megawatt class.

From Tanks of Chemicals to Commercial & Competitive

“Those are aggressive objectives,” Karr acknowledged, “[but] we have high confidence that one or more of these different fiber or slab approaches will scale up to 300 or beyond. I don’t think we’ve seen the limit yet.”..
https://breakingdefense.com/2019/12/exclusive-three-ways-to-kill-cruise-missiles-pentagon-to-test-rival-lasers/

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MarkOttawa

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Vital capability for RCAF in NORAD vs Russkie ALCMs if we get F-35 (Hornets now?); also for USAF F-35s in lower forty eight with NORAD role vs both ALCMs and Russkie SLCMs from North Atlantic (would be nice if RCN's CSC had good capability vs cruise missiles:

F-35 can identify and destroy cruise missiles - Lockheed Martin
AESA radar can intercept low-flying high-speed airborne threats

Amid concerns that Iran may attack Israel with cruise missiles, a senior Lockheed Martin representative revealed on Tuesday that the stealth F-35 Adir fighter jet can detect and intercept such threats.

Gary North, vice president for customer requirements and aeronautics, told reporters that the AN/APG-81 AESA radar allows the advanced jet to identify and intercept airborne threats flying at a low altitude and at high speeds, like cruise missiles.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have warned in recent weeks of the threat posed by the Islamic Republic, which they say is getting bolder and more willing to respond to IAF attacks on Iran and Iranian-backed militias and infrastructure.

Tehran has several rockets that can reach Israel, including the Khoramshahr 2 with a range of 2,000 km. Thousands more rockets are positioned in Syria and Iraq. Israel is defended from this missile threat by a multi-level protective umbrella which is continuously being upgraded. The Iron Dome is designed to shoot down short-range rockets; the Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 system intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere; and David’s Sling intercepts tactical ballistic missiles and medium- to long-range rockets, as well as cruise missiles fired at ranges between 40 and 300 km...

The IAF is leaning to a mix of the F-35 and F-15i, allowing the air force to carry out complex operations, including any confrontation with Iran.
https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/F-35-can-identify-and-destroy-cruise-missiles-Lockheed-Martin-611214

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MarkOttawa

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Matthew Fisher on Canada and NORAD--will money be there for North Warning System upgrades, FOLs, maybe missile defence (and what about new tankers)?

COMMENTARY: An opportunity to remember that NORAD tracks more than just Santa Claus

NORAD is once again using its use its high-powered radars to track Santa Claus’s circuitous journey from the North Pole to southern climes, with millions of chimney stops in Canada and the United States along the way.

Coverage of the Christmas mission is a perennial favourite with young kids across Canada and the U.S.

It is also a gentle reminder to the greater public that the North American Aerospace Defense Command is tasked with tracking not only St. Nicholas but airborne threats to the continent from manned bombers, hard-to-detect cruise missiles, and higher-flying ballistic missiles.

What the annual Santa videos only hint at is that it’s NORAD, not the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, that is Canada’s most important and by far its most integrated military alliance...

Not many Canadians have ever gone to remote North Warning System early-warning radar outposts in the high Arctic such as Tuktoyaktuk or Cape Hall, nor to RCAF Forward Operating Location airfields such as Rankin Inlet, which are equipped to handle front-line fighter jets tasked with intercepting airborne intruders.

Nor do many Canadians see top-secret airspace surveillance command and control centres in Colorado, Alaska, and North Bay, where American and Canadian military personnel stand watch together over the continent’s Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic approaches.

Canada and the U.S. have been publicly wrangling since long before Donald Trump and Barack Obama over how little Canada spends on NATO, despite many pledges to do better. But the big money involved to get Canada to pay its fair share for NATO may be the same or less than what NORAD upgrades will cost Ottawa [emphasis added].

The U.S. expects Canada to pony up billions of new dollars to help fund a replacement for the 30-year-old NWS, which has limitations because it was designed chiefly to deal with threats from manned bombers, to continue work to improve new forward operating bases and perhaps join a U.S. push to have more and more capable fighters based further north.

There is also the question of whether Ottawa will partner with Washington on a hugely expensive Ballistic Missile Defence Program
[emphasis added] that the Harper and Trudeau governments have both been reluctant to sign on to...

Among a long list of issues that he [NORAD’s deputy commander, Canadian Lt. Gen. Chris Coates] and NORAD colleagues raised were modernized Russian Bear bombers which frequently probe NORAD defences for vulnerabilities, Russian advances in supersonic cruise missiles, maneuverable Mach 5 hypersonic glide vehicles and hypersonic cruise missiles, North Korean ballistic missiles that have been acquiring greater range, and a newish concern posed by Chinese missiles, including hypersonic cruise missiles and Russian submarine-launched missiles that can operate closer to North America...

Given that essential improvements to NORAD will cost Canada many billions of dollars and affect our relations not only with the U.S. but with Russia and China, Canadian voters, media and politicians must begin to pay a lot more attention to the far more serious side of defending the country’s three maritime approaches from nuclear war, too.
https://globalnews.ca/news/6316491/norad-canada-defence/

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MarkOttawa

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New way to deal with those increasingly more than pesky Russkie cruise missiles:

Air Force Tests Laser Guided Rockets In The Air-To-Air Role To Shoot Down Cruise Missiles
A recent test was a proof of concept for using these air-to-ground weapons to knock down cruise missiles, but they could also take out small drones.

A U.S. Air Force F-16C Viper recently shot down a target drone using a laser-guided 70mm rocket typically used for air-to-ground strikes during a test. The service ostensibly conducted the experiment to determine the weapon's suitability for shooting down incoming cruise missiles, but it could also be useful for destroying small unmanned aircraft, including suicide drones.

The F-16C, assigned to the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron, part of the 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, conducted the test over a range off the coast of the state on Dec. 19, 2019. A BQM-167 target drone served as the simulated cruise missile threat.

"The test was unprecedented and will shape the future of how the Air Force executes CMD [cruise missile defense]," U.S. Air Force Colonel Ryan Messer, commander of the 53rd Wing, said in a statement. “This is a prime example of how the 53rd Wing is using resources readily available to establish innovative ways that enhance combat capabilities for our combat units."

The Marine Corps first fielded the laser-guided Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System II (APKWS II) 70mm rocket, also known as the AGR-20A, in 2008 and the weapon's use has since expanded dramatically across the use military on both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. The core of the system is a laser seeker system that slots in between the standard 70mm rocket motor and the warhead, allowing for the rapid conversion of existing Hydra 70 unguided rockets into low-cost precision-guided munitions.

The Air Force did not say what warhead and fuze combination it used during the test. An inert training warhead might have been enough to turn the rocket into a hit-to-kill air-to-air weapon that would have destroyed the target by physically smashing into it. A high explosive type combined with a proximity fuze would have been another option. Images that the Air Force released show that the aircraft taking part in the test were carrying rockets with yellow bands at the front, which would point to a live warhead.

The service did say that the F-16C had targeted the drone using an onboard targeting pod. Pictures show that the plane was carrying an AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) during the test. The Sniper ATP's long-range, gyro-stabilized optics and laser designator can be slaved to an aircraft's radar, but it's unclear if this was the case during this particular experiment.

The Air Force has been upgrading a number of F-16C/D Vipers, including those in the Air National Guard, with Northrop Grumman's AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR), which is an active electronically scanned array type, and just awarded that company a new contract to install these on hundreds of additional F-16 aircraft in the USAF's stable. These will allow these aircraft to spot and track targets at greater ranges and with increased precision, especially low flying targets with small radar cross-sections. The Sniper ATP linked to an AESA radar would significantly enhance the ability of the Viper to engage targets with its laser-guided rockets. Fighter jets conducting homeland defense missions already fly with Sniper ATPs for long-range identification of aircraft.

The Air Force says that using the AGR-20A in the air-to-air role was the result of an effort to develop a low-cost weapon for aircraft to use in the cruise missile defense role. This was the number two proposal, out of 76 in total, to come out of an internal Weapons and Tactics Conference (WEPTAC) in January 2019. At present, the service trains to use AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and AIM-9X Sidewinders to engage cruise missile threats.

The unit price for the latest AIM-120D variant is just over $1.3 million, according to the Pentagon's budget request for the 2020 Fiscal Year. Older AIM-120Cs still cost around $1.16 million per shot. Each guidance and control section for the AGR-20A, which, as noted, can be used to convert existing Hydra 70 rocket stocks into laser-guided versions, is just around $25,000 [emphasis added].

In addition, the Air Force says that the laser-guided rockets are faster to load than AIM-120s. Above all else, these weapons also give the launching aircraft far greater magazine depth since they get loaded into 7- and 19-shot pods on a single station that would hold a single AIM-120.

The threat cruise missiles pose to U.S. forces deployed overseas, as well as to the United States itself, has been a growing concern for years now within the U.S. military... [read on]
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/31615/air-force-tests-laser-guided-rockets-in-the-air-to-air-role-to-shoot-down-cruise-missiles

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MarkOttawa

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MarkOttawa said:
What might happen if Justin Trudeau's gov't fails to get serious about NORAD, at CGAI:

Mark
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Good, looks like radar for new RCN frigates will have missile defence capability, and ships could deploy necessary missiles if a gov't decides to do so:

Canada's new frigates could take part in ballistic missile defence - if Ottawa says yes
Defence expert says the frigates' design shows Ottawa is keeping 'the door open' to BMD

Canada's new frigates are being designed with ballistic missile defence in mind, even though successive federal governments have avoided taking part in the U.S. program.

When they slip into the water some time in the mid-to-late 2020s, the new warships probably won't have the direct capability to shoot down incoming intercontinental rockets.

But the decisions made in their design allow them to be converted to that role, should the federal government ever change course.

The warships are based upon the British Type 26 layout and are about to hit the drawing board. Their radar has been chosen and selected missile launchers have been configured to make them easy and cost-effective to upgrade.

Vice-Admiral Art McDonald said the Lockheed Martin-built AN/SPY-7 radar system to be installed on the new frigates is cutting-edge. It's also being used on land now by the U.S. and Japan for detecting ballistic missiles.

"It's a great piece and that is what we were looking for in terms of specification," McDonald told CBC News in a year-end interview.

Selecting the radar system for the new frigates was seen as one of the more important decisions facing naval planners because it has to stay operational and relevant for decades to come — even as new military threats and technologies emerge.

McDonald said positive feedback from elsewhere in the defence industry convinced federal officials that they had made the right choice.

"Even from those that weren't producing an advanced kind of radar, they said this is the capability you need," he said.

The whole concept of ballistic missile defence (BMD) remains a politically touchy topic [so CBC hammers on at that issue trying to stir things up, not on anything serious about the frigates' missile defence capabilities--which US would very much like for NORAD]...
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/frigate-ballistic-missile-defence-canada-1.5407226

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MarkOttawa

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Radarsat Constellation the key--one wonders how much government involvement behind the scenes was involved in this:
Canadarm maker to be acquired by Canadian investors in $1B deal
MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates being sold to consortium led by Northern Private Capital

A Toronto-based investment firm has signed a $1-billion deal to buy the Canadian space technology company behind Radarsat Earth-observation satellites and the Canadarm robotic mechanisms on the International Space Station.

A consortium led by Northern Private Capital with financial backing from former BlackBerry co-chief executive Jim Balsillie will acquire all Canadian and U.K. operations of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates.

The group says MDA's corporate headquarters will return to Canada, where it employs more than 1,900 people.

MDA's headquarters and largest operations had been in the Vancouver area until Maxar Technologies was created to allow MDA's acquisition of Colorado-based DigitalGlobe, a producer of high-resolution Earth-imagery products.

The deal to repatriate MDA's Canadian operations will be financed by a number of sources including NPC, which is led by John Risley and Andrew Lapham, as well as Balsillie, Scotiabank, Bank of Montreal, and Senvest Capital, an investment firm based in Montreal.

Basillie is the former co-CEO of Canadian technology firm Research In Motion responsible for the development of BlackBerry.

The acquisition of MDA will be financed through a combination of equity and debt.

The group sees significant growth potential for MDA under its new ownership.

Ownership returns to Canada

"Over its 50-year history, MDA has grown from a B.C.-based start-up into a world-class space technology company and an anchor of Canada's space program," said Risley said in a statement. "As a Canadian, I am so proud this iconic Canadian company will once again be owned and controlled in Canada."

Northern Private Capital says the acquisition of MDA is expected to close in 2020 following regulatory approvals.

Maxar Technologies said it is selling its Canadian unit in a bid to ease its debt. As of September, Maxar had a total debt of $3.1 billion US.

"This transaction combined with the recently completed sale of real estate in Palo Alto [Calif.] reduces Maxar's overall debt by more than $1 billion," said chief financial officer Biggs Porter.

The company's shares were up 16.2 per cent in premarket trading.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/SOMNIA-1.5410492

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MarkOttawa

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Time for Canada and its gov't to wake up and do something about NORAD/North Warning System--two excerpt (p. 4, 6 PDF) from major piece by Prof. James Fergusson of U. of Manitoba (colleague of Prof. Andea Charron):

Missed Opportunities: Why Canada’s North Warning System is Overdue for an Overhaul
...
Currently, one unofficial estimate places NWS modernization (or replacement) at roughly $11 billion, although it is unclear whether this estimate is in American or Canadian dollars. Assuming the latter, under the current cost-sharing arrangement (originally established with the NWS), Canada will be responsible for 40 percent (Canada 1985), or $4.4 billion (this does not include any infrastructure on US territory, which is entirely the responsibility of the US). Notwithstanding the likelihood that costs will significantly grow over time, for the US its share is not problematic, given the size of the American defence budget. For Canada, its share places a significant burden on Canadian defence spending, even if it is amortized over many years...

Today  and  in  the  future,  however,  the  need  to  expand  NORAD’s  mission  suite  to  include  maritime  control/defence is pressing. Alongside the new ALCM/GLCM [from Russia with end of INF Treaty], Canada and North America face a significant sea-launched cruise missile threat (SLCMs) that can come from both surface ships and submarines. Once launched from their platforms, they become an air-breathing threat, insofar as cruise missiles travel on a similar trajectory – through the air rather than space – as an aircraft. And this falls under NORAD’s existing air control mission. Moreover, defence against this threat extends beyond land-based capabilities, and includes possible naval air defence assets.

At a minimum, significant coordination between NORAD and  Canada-US  naval  air  defence  assets  is  vital.  Such  coordination lays the foundation, in turn, for establishing a binational maritime command, and NORAD is the obvious choice for such a command. In effect, the same functional logic  that  led  to  the  creation  of  NORAD  is  at  play  in  the  maritime domain...
https://macdonaldlaurier.ca/files/pdf/20191219_NORAD_Fergusson_COMMENTARY_FWeb.pdf

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MarkOttawa

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MarkOttawa said:
Time for Canada and its gov't to wake up and do something about NORAD/North Warning System--two excerpt (p. 4, 6 PDF) from major piece by Prof. James Fergusson of U. of Manitoba (colleague of Prof. Andea Charron):

Mark
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Story based on above:

Defence expert slams Ottawa for ignoring North Warning System upgrade
Federal government hasn’t budgeted for NWS modernization, professor says

In a scathing article published on Jan. 14, James Fergusson, a defence expert, says the federal government is dodging the need to replace the aging North Warning System, which is near the end of its lifespan.

“A failure on Canada’s part to move forward relatively quickly could prove disastrous,” said Fergusson, the deputy director of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at the University of Manitoba.

He made his remarks in a commentary published by the Ottawa-based Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a think tank.

The North Warning System is a string of 47 long– and short–range radar stations that stretch across the Arctic from Labrador to Alaska. It was planned and built between 1985 and 1992 to replace the DEW line, with a lifespan that expires in 2025.

This radome holds radar equipment for the Cam Main North Warning System station in Cambridge Bay. (Photo by Jane George)

Canada and the United States operate the system through the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD. Canada pays 40 per cent of its operating costs, while the U.S. pays the other 60 per cent.

Fergusson said replacing the NWS is likely to cost roughly $11 billion, based on an unofficial estimate he’s seen.

That means, based on the current formula, that Canada’s share of the bill could amount to about $4.4 billion.

But at the same time, it appears as if the Department of National Defence has not provided for the replacement of the NWS in its spending plans for the future.

A DND document called the Defence Investment Plan lists projects like the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships project and the troubled plan to replace Canada’s fleet of F-18 fighter jets.

But it contains no reference to the North Warning System...

North_Radar_System-e1544015351720.jpg

This map shows the extent of the North Warning System, as it was envisioned by Canada and the United States in 1987. The U.S. pays 60 per cent of the cost of the NWS, while Canada pays the other 40 per cent. (DND image)
https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/defence-expert-slams-ottawa-for-ignoring-north-warning-system-upgrade/

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Story on "Modernization of North American Defence", Jan. 29 conference in Ottawa by Canadian Global Affairs Institute:

Senior officer warns Norad can't detect Russian bombers in time, needs upgrades

The aging early-warning system charged with detecting incoming threats to North America cannot identify and track long-range Russian bombers before they are close enough to launch missiles at the continent, according to a senior Canadian military officer.

Commodore Jamie Clarke, deputy director of strategy at the North American Aerospace Defence Command, revealed the system’s shortcoming in an address on Wednesday as he pressed on the need to upgrade Norad to face a growing array of modern threats.

Those include everything from incoming ballistic missiles and bombers, which Norad was created to spot, as well as cruise and hypersonic missiles, drones, submarines and other naval vessels as well as space-based and cyber weapons.

Clarke became the latest in a line of Canadian and American military officers to warn that the technology underpinning Norad, including a chain of 1980s-era radars in Canada’s Arctic called the North Warning System, is becoming obsolete.

“Currently, the North Warning System cannot identify and track Russian long-range bombers prior to their missile-launch points or their overflights of the Arctic region,” he said during a conference on the future of Norad hosted by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

“Yet this system, entering its fourth decade of service, is the system we rely on each and every day.”

Created in the 1950s in response to the threat of a Soviet attack by bombers or ballistic missiles over the Arctic, Norad is unique in the world as a joint operation between the U.S. and Canada.

Its technology was last upgraded in the 1980s, before the end of the Cold War, though the U.S. did incorporate the ability to shoot down incoming missiles in the mid-2000s. Canada famously decided in 2005 against joining what is now known as ballistic-missile defence.

The Liberal government’s 2017 defence policy included plans to upgrade or modernize Norad to defend against the threats of today and tomorrow, but offered few specific details because discussions with the U.S. had not started in earnest.

Three years later, it’s difficult to say what progress has been made. The U.S. and Canadian governments have held consultations with industry, Clarke said when asked when Norad modernization will happen. But he could not offer a schedule for moving on the project, saying: “It’s longer than any of us would like, but I can’t even give you a timeline.”

And he suggested that as long as Canada and the U.S. remain behind the curve, it leaves the continent vulnerable.

“We cannot deter what we cannot defeat and we cannot defeat what we cannot detect,” he said. “We have to recognize that we are not just trying to prevent a military attack, but in fact we are defending our entire way of life.”

Even if discussions were further ahead, it remains unclear how Canada will pay for its portion of the new system as the Liberal defence policy did not set aside money for upgrading Norad. The government at the time blamed the many questions around its design and schedule.

Some analysts have worried that the government will dip into the tens of billions of dollars earmarked in the defence policy for new warships, fighter jets and other equipment.

The Department of National Defence’s top civil servant, deputy minister Jody Thomas, told the conference during a roundtable discussion that “whatever funding we’re envisioning for Norad modernization is new money” and not taken from other defence procurement projects.

“I don’t think we should presume that we are going to do more with the same,” she added. “That’s been the history of the department, and we can’t possibly do that. Not with the amount of money that is required for (the defence policy) and the money that is required for Norad.”

Many defence analysts, industry representatives and others speaking during Wednesday’s conference lamented what they saw as apathy by decision-makers — and citizens — in Canada and the U.S. when it came to what they saw as the biggest threat to North America.

“It is in my view the No. 1 defence priority for Canada as well as the United States, and that is homeland defence,” said James Fergusson, director of the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Defence and Security Studies and a leading expert on Norad.

“Unfortunately, in the world of politics in Canada, particularly with a minority government right now, everyone will tell you this is really not on their radar at all. They are going to be obsessed for the next several years with domestic and internal policy priorities.”
https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/senior-officer-warns-norad-cant-detect-russian-bombers-in-time-needs-upgrades

Plus program for the conference,
https://www.cgai.ca/modernization_of_north_american_defence

and video of the whole meeting:
https://www.pscp.tv/CAGlobalAffairs/1yNGaQapAdQGj

Mark
Ottawa
 

MarkOttawa

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Meanwhile Norways sending F-35As to Iceland for NATO air policing:

Norway Will Solve Missions on Iceland with the Brand New F-35 Fighter Aircraft
"Participation has a high symbolic effect, both for Norway and the rest of NATO," says colonel Ståle Nymoen.

Norway is now ready to solve missions both in Norway and abroad with the new fighter aircraft, the F-35, the Norwegian Armed Forces says in a press release.

In March, Norway will solve missions in the international operation Iceland Air Policing (IAP) with F-35. This is the first foreign mission to the 332 Squadron after the F-35 was declared initially operational in November.

NATO country Iceland does not have its own defense and thus no capacity to meet the country's need for sovereignty and airspace surveillance. NATO therefore rolls with periodic air defense presence in peacetime.

"The fact that the F-35 can show operational capability in such an operation is an important milestone towards full operational capability in 2025," says Chief of the Air Force, Major General Tonje Skinnarland.

The tasks are similar to those carried out by the Norwegian F-16 from Bodø (QRA), call-out to identify unknown aircraft. Norway, on behalf of NATO, will be responsible for this for a period of 3 weeks. The detachment consists of 130 soldiers, commanders, officers and civilians.

High symbolic effect

Colonel Ståle "Steel" Nymoen, commander of the 332 Squadron, has been appointed as head of the Norwegian contribution, called Detachment Commander.

"The fact that Norway fulfills the mission of Iceland Air Policing shows that we are a reliable, high quality allied partner. Participation has a high symbolic effect, both for Norway and the rest of NATO," says Nymoen.

He adds that the personnel are now in the preparation phase at the Orland fighter jet base before departure.

"The F-35 is now in daily use in Norway, and we have come so far with the phasing in that we can now also solve missions for NATO. Thus, one of the milestones in phasing in the F-35 has been reached," he adds.

Lots of experience

The QRA mission engages Norway on a daily basis. At one time there are two F-16 on 15 minutes of standby time in Bodø. The air defense is therefore well acquainted with the mission. In addition, the Air Force has performed Air Policing missions in the past, both in Lithuania and several times in Iceland. Both of these missions have been solved with the F-16.

Now it is the F-35 that will take over the baton. For the Armed Forces, the F-35 is an important part of the total defense, which will protect Norway and assert both our and NATO's borders in the north.

"The F-35 has proven to be a very good tool and works better than expected," concludes colonel Nymoen.
https://www.highnorthnews.com/en/norway-will-solve-missions-iceland-brand-new-f-35-fighter-aircraft

f25.jpg

Mark
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MarkOttawa said:
Vital capability for RCAF in NORAD vs Russkie ALCMs if we get F-35 (Hornets now?); also for USAF F-35s in lower forty eight with NORAD role vs both ALCMs and Russkie SLCMs from North Atlantic (would be nice if RCN's CSC had good capability vs cruise missiles:

Mark
Ottawa

let me guess they fly alongside and then tip the wing?
 
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