Friday, May 29, 2015

Upgrade to the North Warning System in the Works

A report was quietly released back at the bigging of April that the U.S Military is looking at its options when it comes to upgrading the missile sensors in the North Warning System, along the old Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line from the Cold War Era.

The current sensors will be obsolete within the next decade the U.S. Military fears, and are currently only capable of tracking high flying aircraft or ballistic missiles. They currently cannot track low-flying objects - including Cruise missiles, as they cannot see beyond the horizon.

Photo of part of the Hall Beach, Nunavut North Warning System Station (2003) Tropo Dish and Radar Dome Visible. 

U.S. officials say they have approached Canadian officials to begin discussions as to possible upgrade options, for greater visibility in the Arctic. Many feel this is a pressing issue, with the increase in Russian sorties in the Arctic. Russian bombers, tankers, and fighter jets approached North American airspace 17 times last year.

Defence Minister Jason Kenny, recently said the Government is looking at options for the modernizing of the North Warning System, but is still strictly opposed to being part of the US Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System, which the government opted out of nearly a decade ago.

The issue is currently still with the House Defence committee under study.

NORAD Jets Practising Interceptions in Arctic

Canadian Air Force jet escorting a Russian bomber
U.S Army File Photo: An RCAF CF-18 escorts a Russian Tu-95 Bear Bomber out of Canadian airspace (Undated Photo)

As part of Exercise  AMALGAM DART taking place in the Arctic region between Canada and the United States, NORAD Jets will be practising intercepting foreign aircraft in the Northern regions of North America.

This training is a response to the increased Russian presence in the Arctic region - at its highest levels since the Cold War.

According to U.S. reports, Russian aircraft approached North American airspace 17 times in 2014. That includes Russian bombers, tankers, and fighter jets. Its not just the number of flights, but where they are flying.

The increase in numbers in 2014 is attributed to the West's strong stance on the Russian aggression in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Similar increases are being seen in Northern Europe, including Russian bombers flying through the English Channel late last year.

More than 300 personnel, and 15 NORAD aircraft are participating in Exercise AMALGAM DART, in Alaska, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Canada-US NORAD Arctic Exercise

The Canadian NORAD region will take the leading role in an exercise between Canadian and US Forces to test military personnel and aircraft in the North and High Arctic. The Exercise runs from May 25 to June 1, 2015.

Exercise AMALGAM DART will involve more than 300 military personnel, and 15 aircraft operating from Alaska, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

US F-15 Eagles will be stationed at FOL Yellowknife;

RCAF CF-18's  and a CC-130 Hercules air to air refueller will be stationed at FOL Inuvik;

At Resolute Bay, an RCAF mobile radar station will be deployed;

A KC-135 Stratotankers and an RCAF CC-150 air to air refueller will be deployed at Eielson AFB in Alaska;

Finally, at the Joint Base in Elmendorf-Richardon in Alaska, US F-22 fighters and the E-3 Airborne Warning Control System aircraft will be deployed as part of the exercise.