By Robet Smol
There is a widespread assumption currently pervading our government and the public that Canada has done all it can to defend the Arctic. But just how far have we gone in terms of Arctic defence and sovereignty protection? It’s instructive to compare our posture and preparedness with those of our allies. And not big military powers, such as the United States, but rather smaller allied countries such as Norway, which also share the Arctic with us.
Get ready to be embarrassed, Canada.
The Norwegians have established sizable and permanent Arctic-based air, navy and army assets. In the Arctic alone, the Royal Norwegian Air Force has deployed a total of seven squadrons. Two fly F-16 fighter aircraft, which are on 24/7 alert at Bodo. Also deployed above the Arctic Circle is Norway’s main helicopter base, Bardufoss. Also located at Bardufoss is a squadron flying drones. Still further north, Norway operates a squadron of P-3 Orion anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft. Just shy of the northernmost extreme of the country there is a search and rescue helicopter squadron. Also above the Arctic Circle at Sorreisa, Norway’s military operates an air defence control and reporting centre.
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