The Canadian Forces in the Arctic — Backgrounder

Reg­u­lar north­ern patrols are con­duct­ed by CP-140 Auro­ra long range patrol air­craft. These strate­gic sur­veil­lance air­craft safe­guard Canada’s waters from emerg­ing secu­ri­ty chal­lenges such as ille­gal fish­ing, immi­gra­tion, drug traf­fick­ing, and pol­lu­tion violations. 

440 Trans­port Squadron is based full-time in the North. Oper­at­ing four Cana­di­an designed and pro­duced CC-138 Twin Otter air­craft, this Yel­lowknife-based squadron con­ducts air­lift, util­i­ty and liai­son flights in the Yukon, North­west Ter­ri­to­ries, and Nunavut, as well as any assigned search and res­cue missions. 

Giv­en the lack of roads or ports through­out much of the North, air­crafts are often the only life­line in and out of the many iso­lat­ed com­mu­ni­ties in this region. RCAF air­craft such as the CC-177 Globe­mas­ter III, CC-130 Her­cules, CC-138 Twin Otter, and CH-146 Grif­fon heli­copter pro­vide a vital resup­ply ser­vice for north­ern oper­a­tions and mil­i­tary instal­la­tions such as CFS Alert, on the north­ern tip of Ellesmere Island, and North Warn­ing Sys­tem radar sites. 

The Roy­al Cana­di­an Air Force (RCAF), in con­junc­tion with NORAD, also main­tains four For­ward Oper­at­ing Loca­tions (FOLs) — locat­ed in Inu­vik and Yel­lowknife, N.W.T., and Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet, Nunavut — where it can pre-deploy fight­er air­craft in response to, or in antic­i­pa­tion of, unwel­come activ­i­ty, pro­vid­ing all the nec­es­sary infra­struc­ture and sup­plies to sup­port the RCAF’s CF-18 Hor­net fight­er air­craft in these remote and iso­lat­ed regions. 


NORAD was estab­lished in 1958 to mon­i­tor and defend North Amer­i­can air­space, and the Cana­di­an North is a crit­i­cal region under this mandate. 

The FOLs and Per­son­nel Accom­mo­da­tion Bar­racks main­tained by the RCAF allow NORAD to strate­gi­cal­ly place air­craft and sup­port per­son­nel in Canada’s North to ensure a ready and rapid response to any poten­tial air­space threat. Sev­er­al times dur­ing a giv­en year, the Cana­di­an NORAD Region con­ducts oper­a­tions and train­ing at var­i­ous FOLs, some­times in part­ner­ship with one or both of the Alaskan and Con­ti­nen­tal U.S. NORAD Regions. 

NORAD also main­tains the North Warn­ing Sys­tem, a series of 11 long-range and 36 short-range radars along the entire Arc­tic coast of North America. 


Project Polar Epsilon is a $60 mil­lion space-based ini­tia­tive using imagery and infor­ma­tion from Canada’s radar satel­lite, RADARSAT‑2, to pro­vide enhanced land and sea sur­veil­lance capa­bil­i­ties for the CF at home and abroad. The Polar Epsilon Project includes satel­lite ground sta­tions that will process data from RADARSAT‑2 to pro­duce imagery prod­ucts in near real-time that can then be used to sup­port CF oper­a­tions and the activ­i­ties of oth­er fed­er­al depart­ments and agen­cies, as well as mon­i­tor activ­i­ty or changes in the Arctic. 

Defence Research and Devel­op­ment Canada’s (DRDC) North­ern Watch Tech­nol­o­gy Demon­stra­tion Project inves­ti­gates tech­nol­o­gy as an option to expand Canada’s win­dow into the Arc­tic by putting exist­ing sen­sor tech­nol­o­gy to the test in this extreme envi­ron­ment. Through test­ing, demon­stra­tion and assess­ment, DRDC will pro­vide the depart­ment with a bet­ter under­stand­ing as to how tech­nol­o­gy could be applied to iden­ti­fy activ­i­ties tak­ing place in Canada’s North. Giv­en the unique chal­lenges posed by the Arc­tic envi­ron­ment, as North­ern Watch pro­gress­es so too will DRDC’s knowl­edge in con­duct­ing defence sci­ence and deploy­ing tech­nol­o­gy in Arc­tic conditions. 


Recur­ring Oper­a­tions

As part of their man­date, the CF fre­quent­ly con­duct exer­cis­es and oper­a­tions in the Arc­tic, includ­ing sov­er­eign­ty patrols. For example: 

  • Oper­a­tion NUNALIVUT is con­duct­ed in March and April each year by JTFN, specif­i­cal­ly 440 (Trans­port) Squadron and the Cana­di­an Rangers. The oper­a­tion employs the unique capa­bil­i­ties of the Rangers to sup­port JTFN oper­a­tions in the extreme envi­ron­ment of the High Arc­tic. Ranger snow­mo­bile patrols pro­vide pres­ence and demon­strate a response capa­bil­i­ty in the most remote areas of the North. 
  • Oper­a­tion NUNAKPUT is an inte­grat­ed JTFN oper­a­tion that takes place each sum­mer in coop­er­a­tion with the CCG and the RCMP. The aim of the oper­a­tion is to exer­cise sov­er­eign­ty and prac­tice inter­op­er­abil­i­ty. It focus­es on the Beau­fort Sea region includ­ing Her­schel Island. 
  • Oper­a­tion NANOOK is Canada’s largest annu­al oper­a­tion con­duct­ed pri­mar­i­ly in the East­ern and High Arc­tic. It is a Cana­da Com­mand-planned and ‑direct­ed joint and inte­grat­ed sov­er­eign­ty oper­a­tion. The oper­a­tion high­lights inter­op­er­abil­i­ty, com­mand and con­trol, and coop­er­a­tion with inter­de­part­men­tal and inter­gov­ern­men­tal part­ners in the North. 


With a renewed com­mit­ment to main­tain­ing a pres­ence in the region and enhanc­ing our capa­bil­i­ties to rou­tine­ly oper­ate in this often-inhos­pitable expanse, the CF is con­tribut­ing to the Gov­ern­ment of Canada’s North­ern Strat­e­gy. At the same time, exer­cis­ing Cana­di­an sov­er­eign­ty in the Arc­tic can only be achieved through a whole-of-gov­ern­ment approach. There­fore, the CF is also work­ing close­ly with our fed­er­al and ter­ri­to­r­i­al part­ners, as well as with the peo­ples of the North, to safe­guard this pre­cious inher­i­tance and ensure Cana­da remains “Our True North, Strong and Free.” 

Depart­ment of Nation­al Defence, Canada 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →