The United States and Canada have in an unusual move publicized a planned military exercise in the arctic following increasing concern over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command says it will undertake military exercises throughout the Canadian Arctic. The command maintains the defense drills are aimed at testing its readiness “to respond to both aircraft and cruise missiles”. The drill dubbed Operation Noble Defender has been commonplace in past years, but recent drills have garnered attention due to ongoing Russian aggression and the Canadian Arctic’s close proximity to Russia.
Canada’s Chief of Defense staff has indicated that though the threat of a Russian attack against Canada’s arctic remains low, it is always best to be prepared. Russia has boosted its military presence in land bases in the Arctic and launched provocative aerial missions in the past.
Two years ago, “a pair of long-range Russian bombers buzzed Canadian airspace before turning back. The TU-160 Blackjack bombers, capable of carrying nuclear missiles, crossed the North Pole and approached Canada from western Russia. The TU-160 Blackjack bombers, capable of carrying nuclear missiles, crossed the North Pole and approached Canada from western Russia.”
Some experts contend any Russian incursion on the arctic would be by sea or air and not by land. Russia is reported to have tested hypersonic missiles that are impossible for current technology in the arctic to detect.
Canada is taking active steps to reverse this, “the Inuit-run Nasittuq Corporation was announced as the winner of a C$592m (US$464m) contract to operate the North Warning System, a 37-year-old network of dozens of remotely operated radar stations stretching more than 5,000km along the edge of the Arctic Ocean. The radar system functions as a critical set of eyes on the region’s airspace but needs significant upgrades.”