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Canada aims to upgrade NORAD
Canada is committing federal funds to modernise North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) in the face of a renewed Russian assertiveness.
The federal budget, announced on 19 April, includes C$163 million ($131.4 million) over a five-year period from 2021-2022 to overhaul the ageing NORAD strategic missile warning system, which was set up in the 1950s.
‘This investment would lay the groundwork for NORAD’s future, including through research and development of cutting-edge technologies that can detect and defend against threats to the continent,’ the Canadian government announced in its official budget document.
Emerging threats from Russia potentially include low-flying cruise missiles and hypersonic missiles that NORAD may find difficult to detect in its current configuration.
The 2021 budget also proposes C$88.8 million over five years ‘to sustain existing continental and Arctic defence capability’, and C$70.8 million over 10 years ‘to ensure the timely delivery of defence and marine procurement projects’ for the Coast Guard.
To reinforce the Canadian commitment to NATO, Budget 2021 proposes C$541.2 million over five years to maintain an additional six fighter aircraft and a frigate as part of the NATO Readiness Initiative.
The government also expects to allocate C$305.9 million over five years, starting in 2020-21, to the Department of National Defence to cover higher Canadian contributions to common budget and military activities within NATO.
Another item of interest from the 2021 budget is a commitment to assess all bids in major military and Coast Guard procurements for their impact on Canadian economic interests.
‘Companies found to have prejudiced Canada’s economic interests through trade challenges will have points deducted from their procurement bid score at a level proportional to the severity of the economic impact, to a maximum penalty,’ the government announced.
This policy already applies to the Future Fighter Capability Project.
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