RCAF Operations in the North

Video / August 11, 2014


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The North is going through important changes.

Navigation, tourism and the exploitation of new resources will certainly increase with the melting of the ice cover in the North. ….

As climate change will increase the level of activity in the northern regions of Canada, it is foreseen that this will result in more security challenges in the area.

An easier access to the North could translate into more illegal activities such as clandestine immigration, smuggling and the increased presence of pollutants.

Ships improperly engineered and built for less demanding weather conditions could possibly harm the fragile ecosystem… and the increase in the number of commercial flights over the Canadian North could also elevate the risk of major air accidents in the region.


Canada’s Air Force has been operating in the harsh and challenging Arctic environment since its creation in 1924.

The Royal Canadian Air Force surveyed and mapped Canada’s territory and in this way greatly improving our knowledge of the North and our ability to navigate within this challenging environment.

During the Cold War, Canada’s air defences were expanded to address the rising threat of nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.


Working in the North has become more important throughout the years. Climate change and the increased level of activity in the North mean that for us in the Royal Canadian Air Force, we have to be in the North. We talk a lot about expeditionary operations but these operations for the Royal Canadian Air Force begin in Canada…and when we talk about Canada, it includes the North.


We have to ensure that we are able to operate in the Northern regions. We have to ensure that every thing we do when we develop our expeditionary capability focuses first on providing Canada and the North the security shield it needs.


Canada’s Air Force is improving its capabilities in the North in order to meet the challenges associated with climate change and increased activity in the North.

With its newest fleets of aircraft… the C-17s, the J-model Hercules, and the F-model Chinook…the RCAF has the multipurpose aircraft it needs to operate in all regions of Canada…including the vast Canadian North.

During the coming years, the RCAF will continue to refine its ability to operate effectively in the North…. taking advantage of the benefits of new advanced technologies… and fully integrating rotary and fixed wing fleets into the Arctic mission.


The Royal Canadian Air Force is committed to supporting the Government, to work with military partners, with civilian partners, with government partners to ensure that the North is going to be strong and secure.

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