Norway taps Canada to join new air force

The head of the Royal Norwegian Air Force has a vision for Arctic security that involves Canada, the US, Finland, Sweden, and (of course) 250 ultra-modern fighter jets.  

Driving the news: Rolf Folland is calling on Canada to help create a new Arctic air force command, per Aftenpotem. If Sweden and Finland can join NATO (a bid complicated by Turkey’s interference), he thinks the next step is to create a joint centre for air operations.

  • Norway’s military agency has boosted its threat evaluation of Russian presence in the Arctic, citing that most of Russia’s nuclear weapons are housed far up north.

Why it matters: The Arctic represents 40% of Canada’s land mass and 75% of its coastline but sees a negligible fraction of defence spending. Meanwhile, Russia, an Arctic power in its own right, has grown increasingly at odds with NATO members due to the war in Ukraine. 

  • “Without intentional efforts to counter our competitors’ fast-paced advances, our competitive advantage will erode,” according to a US military strategy paper
  • The idea is that a joint air military centre could help both NATO coordinate future air operations and allow northern countries to share their expertise with each other.

In Canada: There’s no word on a response to Folland’s request, but senators are starting to look into the need for updated defence infrastructure up north. The North Warning System in Cambridge Bay, for instance, still relies on outdated tech that can’t detect modern weapons.