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NORAD Conducts Op NOBLE DEFENDER in the North

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will conduct Operation NOBLE DEFENDER, an arctic air defence operation involving military aircraft and personnel from Canada and the United States, from March 14 to 17, 2022.

This recurring operation is designed to confirm the Canadian NORAD Region’s capabilities to respond to both aircraft and cruise missiles threatening North America. The operation will see Canadian CF-18 fighters operate from northern airfields to intercept aircraft role-playing as threats. Fighter aircraft will be supported by Royal Canadian Air Force and United States Air Force air-to-air refueller aircraft.

The strategic importance of the Arctic for Canada and the United States is indisputable and will only increase as sea ice diminishes and competition for resources in the region increases. Monitoring and control of North American airspace, including over the Arctic, remains a primary mission focus area for NORAD.

“Our competitors’ offensive capabilities are rapidly increasing, and this includes their ability to operate in and through the Arctic. Exercising with our allies and partners in the Arctic allows us to demonstrate our resiliency and to advance our operational capabilities that are critical for integrated deterrence and layered defense. The defense of North America is a team effort: the Canadian and American members of NORAD, and our military and civilian allies and partners, remain steadfast in our obligation of deterring threats, and if required, defending North America.” General Glen VanHerck (USAF), Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command

“This operation demonstrates the effectiveness of our Canadian and American NORAD members to rapidly generate, deploy and employ air power to deter, and if necessary, defeat threats to North America. NOBLE DEFENDER further validates the Canadian NORAD Region’s ability to operate effectively in even the most challenging of regions and in some of the harshest winter conditions in the world.” Major-General Eric Kenny, Commander, Canadian NORAD Region



• Operation NOBLE DEFENDER is a recurring operation that is conducted periodically throughout the year in Canada and the United States. This iteration is being staged out of a number of northern airfields, including Canadian Forces Station Alert, Nunavut; Whitehorse, Yukon Territory; Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; and 5 Wing Goose Bay and Thule, Greenland. It is not held in response to any specific world event.

• Members of the Canadian Air Defence Sector located at 22 Wing North Bay, Ontario are providing aerospace surveillance, identification, control and warning during the operation while command and control is provided by the Canadian NORAD Region Headquarters located at 17 Wing/CFB Winnipeg.

• To safeguard personnel operating in remote areas of the high north, RCAF CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopters have been positioned at CFS Alert to provide rapid response.

• Because of Canada’s vastness, NORAD maintains adequate facilities at Forward Operating Locations placed strategically across Canada, to support our people, aircraft, and our mission. Additionally, throughout the year, NORAD conducts air defence operations and exercises from these locations to ensure the logistical support structure is maintained and can support deployment operations.

• NORAD aircraft are on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

• NORAD ensures U.S. and Canadian aerospace control to include air defence operations through a network of alert fighters, tankers, airborne warning and control system aircraft, rotary wing air interceptors, and ground-based air defence assets cued by interagency and defence radars.

• NORAD is focused on the defence of both the U.S. and Canada. The response to potential aerospace threats does not distinguish between the two nations and draws on forces from both countries. This bi-national response is practiced and employed regularly on exercises and operations like NOBLE DEFENDER.

• NORAD must be able to quickly identify threats in the Arctic, respond promptly and effectively to those threats, and shape the security environment to mitigate the prospect of those threats in the future

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