NORAD upgrade a huge challenge

Since Canada announced its plan last June to spend $4.9 billion over six years to modernize North American defences, it has become clear that there are significant technical obstacles to overcome. Improved satellite coverage, over-the-horizon radar and deployment of undersea sensors and surveillance in the Arctic are among them and while Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, head of Canadian Joint Operations Command, says Canada has “decent domain awareness right now”, it continues to work with the U.S. on key elements of the NORAD upgrade. [node:read-more:link]

New Canadian space commander outlines priorities

Brigadier General Mike Adamson, commander of 3 Canadian Space Division, says replacing Canada’s space tracking satellite is “the most important” priority for the new organization which was stood up in July. He says it would emphasize that space is central to “everything that we do” and would align Canada with its allies. [node:read-more:link]

NORAD membership mooted for Greenland

As tensions with Russia continue to rise, the North American Aerospace Defense Command may need to detect and counter increasing aerial intrusions. One way to strengthen NORAD’s hand could be to invite Denmark to bring Greenland into the alliance. Although often seen as an extension of European interests in that U.S. military operations in the Danish territory are overseen by U.S. European Command, Greenland is geographically part of North America. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian aircraft core of U.S. project

Two Bombardier Challenger business jets are proving their merit as long-range surveillance platforms in an ongoing U.S. Army project. Owned and operated by Florida-based L3 Harris and Virginia-based Leidos, the modified aircraft have been gathering operational data in Eastern Europe and the Pacific region, respectively. [node:read-more:link]

New EW troop support envisaged

Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics Mission Systems have been awarded a $15-million U.S. Army contract to develop concepts for an electromagnetic attack and collection system that integrates cyber, signal intelligence and electronic warfare capabilities. The eventual goal of the project is giving deployed troops long-distance real-time data about their immediate surroundings. [node:read-more:link]

Airbus drone setting records

A solar-powered UAV designed by Airbus Defence & Space continues to set records, having recently completed 36 days aloft as it continues to rack up flight-hours at an altitude of more than 21km. The Zephyr, which has a 25m wingspan and weighs just 75kg, was deployed over Arizona by the U.S. Army June 15. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian funding for north warning

Defence Minister Anita Anand says Canada will spend $4.9 billion over the next six years to modernize continental defence, covering some 40 per cent of the anticipated cost of upgrading NORAD with the U.S. accounting for the balance. “NORAD has continually adapted and evolved in response to new threats,” she said Jan. 20, adding that Canada’s total investment in continental and northern defence willtop $40 billion over the next two decades. [node:read-more:link]

Banned drone cameras now exportable?

The federal government reportedly has done an about-face on the exportability of surveillance cameras designed by L3Harris Wescam in Hamilton, Ont. The government prohibited further exports 11 months ago after it was learned that Turkey had used the cameras aboard its Bayraktar TB2 armed drones in combat. It’s now understood that at least 30 will be purchased through a $50-million Ukrainian support package announced March 9 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. [node:read-more:link]

Israeli company blacklisted by U.S.

NSO Group Technologies, an Israeli company known primarily for it Pegasus spyware, has been added to a U.S. trade blacklist after it was reported that it had been used by some countries to target human rights advocates and journalists. “Dismayed” by the decision, the company insists that its software helps to prevent “terrorism and crime” and is sold only to countries with good human rights records [node:read-more:link]

Norway updating Arctic surveillance

Having ordered five Boeing P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft in 2017, the Royal Norwegian Air Force will begin deploying them in the Arctic next year after successful testing earlier this month. A variant of the popular 737 civilian platform, they will replace six Lockheed Martin P-3C/N Orions and two Dassault Falcons. [node:read-more:link]

Enhanced drone the new LRPA?

An enhanced Northrop Grumman Global Hawk drone, the MQ-4C, is expected to replace many of the long-range patrol capabilities of U.S. Navy’s legacy Boeing P-8 Orions. A navy program manager confirmed Aug. 3 that the drone, equipped with new cameras and sigint systems and a key element of the USN Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program, had performed “better than expected” in recent flight tests. [node:read-more:link]

U.K. inaugurates Space Command

Britain’s defense ministry has set up a Space Command to operate its Space Operations Centre, military communications network and ballistic missile early warning radar. Headquartered at RAF Base High Wycombe near London, it is under the command of Air Vice Marshal Paul Godfrey. [node:read-more:link]

World record for new drone

An electric, fixed-wing drone recently set a certified world record for flight time in its category, operating at continuous thrust for 26 hours with a full-motion video payload and radios. Developed by Brooklyn-based Kraus Hamdani Aerospace, the aircraft’s sailplane profile also enables it to soar up to 20,000 feet, capabilities to be demonstrated at an upcoming U.S. Army exercise. [node:read-more:link]

Open Skies still closing?

The lower house of the Russian parliament voted May 19 to pull out of the 2002 Open Skies treaty which permitted reciprocal surveillance of its signatories’ military facilities. The former U.S. administration withdrew last year and while the Russian proposal requires endorsement by the upper house and President Vladimir Putin, Moscow has indicated a willingness to reverse direction if the U.S. returns to the accord. [node:read-more:link]

Sweden updating air force capability

The Swedish air force will continue to fly 100 Saab JAS Gripen fighters despite an earlier plan which would have reduced the fleet to 60. “Long-range combat capability against ground targets that will be added gives us the opportunity to reach enemy territory with considerable range,” Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist explained. “It is a real strengthening of Swedish operational capability, which is also an important security policy signal.” Also in the works are a new unmanned combat aerial vehicle and a recapitalized airborne early warning and control fleet. [node:read-more:link]


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