Region/Countries: Canada, North America Industry: Aviation / Aerospace, Multiple Sectors Date: March 2023

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies offering products or services in military and defense technologies may find opportunities in the NORAD upgrading initiative.

Canada will spend $38.6 billion over the next two decades to modernize the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). It is the largest Canadian investment in the program in nearly 40 years.

Canada’s government cites “a significantly changing global security environment,” as demonstrated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as climate change and the rapid development of new weapons technologies, such as hypersonic weapons and advanced cruise missiles.

The investment will focus on five areas: modernizing surveillance systems; improving the ability to understand and communicate threats; updating air weapons systems; adding military infrastructure in northern Canada; and investing in science and technology for the future.

Projects include early warning radar to detect potential threats coming over the Arctic Circle; completing a state-of-the-art space-based surveillance system; adding advanced air-to-air missiles; and adding air-to-air refueling aircraft.

Canada also has announced an agreement with the U.S., Lockheed Martin, and Pratt & Whitney to buy 88 fighter jets—the largest investment in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 30 years.

Cyberattacks and unmanned objects such as high-altitude surveillance balloons recently spotted over Canada and the U.S. have heightened the need for the improvements, the government said.

NORAD has been a joint U.S.-Canada operation since 1957. Its mission: to defend the safety of North America. That includes the “detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands.” The organization added a maritime warning system to its goals in 2006 to ensure the safety of the lakes and waterways of both countries.