Defense Minister Anita Anand on Monday announced a major investment of $4.9 billion over six years to modernize NORAD, the North American continent’s protection system, amid high tensions between Russia and NATO allies.
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The plan will “provide new defense capabilities to protect Canadians for generations to come,” Minister Anand said during a press conference on the tarmac at the military base in Trenton, Ontario.
This is the largest investment in the NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) system in forty years, when the United States and Canada were in the midst of the Cold War with the USSR.
“We are very aware of the evolving threat,” said Lt. Gen. Alain Pelletier, deputy director of NORAD. According to the latter, this threat is mainly embodied by cruise missiles.
These missiles can be deployed both from the sea surface and underwater, from long-range aviation or even from ground bases, explained Alain Pelletier.
Spread over a period of 20 years, the project is expected to cost the state treasury $40 billion. Many jobs are expected, Ms Anand defends.
“It’s important to remember that we’ve been on an upward trend in our defense spending since 2017,” she said.
A multifaceted plan
The overhaul of the NORAD defense system, which experts have criticized for years as obsolete, includes a large number of cutting-edge technologies in order to be able to react to the weapons, which have also been significantly further developed.
The first, and perhaps most important, component is the creation of a new radar surveillance network and early warning system capable of detecting threats on the northern front.
Large sums are also being allocated to modernizing computer networks, which would allow operators to work directly from a computer cloud.
Defenses on the ground and in the air would also be reinforced with the potential creation of new air bases, part of a plan to overhaul the physical infrastructure in the territory. These could house some of the F-35 fighter jets that Canada recently ordered from Lockheed Martin.
“Upgrading our infrastructure is more urgent than ever as climate change and warming are having a major impact on our current infrastructure,” Minister Anand said.
Finally, the plan includes the creation of a defense-led science and technology research program that will “ensure we stay a few steps ahead of emerging threats by leveraging Canadian innovation and knowledge.”
The minister remained dodgy on the possibility of creating a continental anti-missile shield in partnership with the United States.