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June 21, 2022

Canada announces plan to modernise continental defence capabilities

The plan seeks to strengthen CAF and NORAD with enhanced defence capabilities.

Canada has announced its plan to modernise its continental defence capabilities to safeguard and protect the country from new and evolving threats.

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The plan seeks to strengthen the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) with enhanced defence capabilities.

For this, $2.32bn (C$3bn) has been allocated over a period of six years, starting from 2022-23, with $1.47bn (C$1.9bn) in remaining amortisation.

The latest announcement was made by the Canadian Minister of National Defence Anita Anand, in the presence of chief of defence staff general Wayne Eyre and NORAD deputy commander lieutenant-general Alain Pelletier.

As part of the plan, a new Northern Approaches Surveillance system will be developed to strengthen the CAF and NORAD’s situational awareness and space-based surveillance capabilities.

The government will also invest to advance command and control information systems, radio communication capabilities, and boost satellite communications in the Arctic region.

In addition, the government will also acquire the latest air-to-air missiles capable of defeating threats from various ranges.

Canada will add more air-to-air refuelling aircraft, modernise CAF infrastructure at four locations in the country’s North, improve reaction alert capabilities, and modernise training programmes.

The country will work in coordination with the US to co-develop technological solutions to assess threats.

Canadian Minister of Northern Affairs Daniel Vandal said, “Defending Canada’s Arctic sovereignty requires a commitment to working with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners, and this announcement demonstrates just that.

“Investments in northern infrastructure, defence capabilities, and enhanced threat monitoring will benefit all Northerners, including Indigenous partners.”

In 2017, Canada presented its defence policy, titled Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE), and raised its defence spending by 70%.

Through its 2021 budget, the Canadian government committed an amount of $194.8m (C$252.2m) over a period of five years to sustain current continental and Arctic defence capabilities, and to also lay down the basis for the future of NORAD.

With this year’s budget, the government has committed over $6.18bn (C$8bn) over five years in additional defence spending, including in continental defence.

In August 2021, the US and Canada reiterated their commitment to modernise NORAD by enhancing its capabilities.

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