Since 1957 the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has been ensuring the safety of Canadian and U.S. airspace by monitoring for – and warning about – attacks against the continent, be they by “aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles.” While the initial agreement covered airspace safety in both Canada and the U.S., a renewed agreement in 2006 added a maritime warning component to ensure the safety of Canadian and American maritime areas and internal waterways.
In 2021, Canada and the U.S. jointly announced investments intended to upgrade and modernize NORAD operations. And in 2022 Canada announced a CAD $4.9 billion investment over six years (and $40 billion over the next two decades) toward this initiative – the largest Canadian NORAD upgrade in almost forty years.
The reasons why investments are flowing make for a long list that includes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, technological developments such as hypersonic weapons, threats from autocratic regimes, the impacts of climate change on defense capabilities, ongoing cyberattacks, and – more recently – surveillance balloons that violated North American airspace.
In addition to infrastructure and support, money will be spent on new radar stations, modern surveillance systems, command and control upgrades, additional air-to-air refueling aircraft, advanced air-to-air missiles for fighter jets, upgrades to the Canadian Armed Forces’ infrastructure in the North, and additional funds to complete and augment key space projects. Funding will also be used to develop and create a new science and technology defense program, introduce modern over-the-horizon radar, and deploy undersea sensors.
Companies offering products and/or services in military and defense technologies may find opportunities in Canada’s NORAD upgrade initiative.