Pentagon Wants Canada to Install Upgraded Missile Sensors in Arctic

© Flickr / NOAA Photo LibraryThe United States has plans to ask Canada to install a new missile sensor system in that country's part of the Arctic, in order to upgrade old sensors and be able to detect multiple types of missile threats.
The United States has plans to ask Canada to install a new missile sensor system in that country's part of the Arctic, in order to upgrade old sensors and be able to detect multiple types of missile threats. - Sputnik International
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The United States has plans to ask Canada to install a new missile sensor system in that country's part of the Arctic, in order to upgrade old sensors and be able to detect multiple types of missile threats.

This Thursday, Sept. 28, 2006 file photo provided by the U.S. Air Force shows an F-15C Eagle from the 12th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, flying next to a Russian Tu-95 Bear bomber, right, during a Russian exercise which brought the bomber near the west coast of Alaska - Sputnik International
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At a Pentagon news conference, Admiral William Gortney, who heads the Canada-US Norad program, said Tuesday that its early days for the project and no dates have been set. 

"I don’t think we have a timetable just yet," said Gortney, who is also the head of Northern Command, the body responsible for the US missile-defense program. "We’re just now bringing it up through our policy leaders as well as with the Canadian government."

The sensors currently in place as part of the Canada-US North Warning System are not only aging, but do not account for technological advances in the types of missiles that may be a threat. New sensors would be able to see farther over the horizon but also detect shorter-range missiles.

"In a few years — I’d say 10 years is the number — (the current equipment is) going to reach a point of obsolescence and we’re going to have to reinvest for that capability," Gortney said.

"The question is, what sort of technology do we want to use to reconstitute that capability? We don’t want to put in the same sorts of sensors because they’re not effective against the low-altitude, say, cruise missiles. They can’t see over the horizon."

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Though Canada refused to join the US' ballistic missile defense program (BMD) a decade ago, they do help monitor the airspace with the US at Norad.

Defence Minister Jason Kenney said recently that the government would take modernization proposals under consideration, and that the government had put it's current and potential role in the BMD program under review by the House of Commons Defence Committee.

"But up to now, we haven't seen information that has changed our opinion on BMD," Kenney told a news conference last month.

As for any new sensors, a spokeswoman for Defence Minister Jason Kenney said "We are constantly reviewing Canada’s security and defence requirements but no decisions have been taken."

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