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  1. #1
    Senior Member M1917 Enfield's Avatar
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    'Strategic messaging': Russian fighters in Arctic spark debate on Canada's place

    Quick Sajjan, get those new/old Aussie F-18's up there pronto to scare the Ruskies back home!


    https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/ne...-place-283172/


    'Strategic messaging': Russian fighters in Arctic spark debate on Canada's place


    The Canadian Press
    Published: 8 hours ago
    Updated: 1 hour ago


    CPT509529101_large.jpg

    Recent Russian moves in the Arctic have renewed debate over that country's intentions and Canada's own status at the top of the world.

    The newspaper Izvestia reported late last month that Russia's military will resume fighter patrols to the North Pole for the first time in 30 years. The patrols will be in addition to regular bomber flights up to the edge of U.S. and Canadian airspace.

    "It's clearly sending strategic messaging," said Whitney Lackenbauer, an Arctic expert and history professor at the University of Waterloo. "This is the next step."

    Russia has been beefing up both its civilian and military capabilities in its north for a decade.

    Old Cold-War-era air bases have been rejuvenated. Foreign policy observers have counted four new Arctic brigade combat teams, 14 new operational airfields, 16 deepwater ports and 40 icebreakers with an additional 11 in development.

    Bomber patrols have been steady. NORAD has reported up to 20 sightings and 19 intercepts a year.

    Commercial infrastructure has kept pace as well. A vast new gas field has been opened in the Yamal Peninsula on the central Russian coast. Control and development of the Northern Sea Route — Russia's equivalent of the Northwest Passage — has been given to a central government agency. Russian news sources say cargo volume is expected to grow to 40 million tonnes in 2020 from 7.5 million tonnes in 2016.

    Canada has little to compare.

    A road has been completed to the Arctic coast at Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories and work for a port at Iqaluit in Nunavut is underway. The first Arctic patrol vessel has been launched, satellite surveillance has been enhanced and a naval refuelling station built on Baffin Island.

    But most northern infrastructure desires remain unfilled.

    No all-weather roads exist down the Mackenzie Valley or into the mineral-rich central N.W.T. Modern needs such as high-speed internet are still dreams in most of the North. A new icebreaker has been delayed.

    Nearing the end of its term, the Liberal government has yet to table an official Arctic policy.

    Global Affairs Canada spokesman Richard Walker said in an email that the government is "firmly asserting" its presence in the North to protect Canada's sovereign Arctic territory.

    Walker said Canada cooperates with all Arctic Council members, including Russia, to advance shared interests that include sustainable development, the roles of Indigenous peoples, environmental protection and scientific research.

    "Given the harsh environment and the high cost of Arctic operations, Canada believes that cooperation amongst Arctic nations is essential," Walker wrote.

    "While we perceive no immediate military threat in the Arctic region, we remain vigilant in our surveillance of our Northern approaches."

    Canada needs to keep pace if only because it can't count on the current international order to hold, said John Higginbotham of the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo.

    "If the globalized system fragments, we're going to get a world of blocs. The blocs will have power to close international shipping channels.

    "It's a dreadful strategic mistake for Canada to give up our own sea route."

    Arctic dominance would also give Russia a potent card to play, said Rob Huebert of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

    "It gives you presence," he said. "Whenever there's issues that happen to occur elsewhere, we've already seen the behaviour of the Russians — they start doing overflights of other countries to bring pressure."

    Norway, the Baltics and the United Kingdom have all reported increased airspace violations, Huebert said.

    Few expect Russian troops to come pouring over the North Pole. The country is sticking with a United Nations process for drawing borders in Arctic waters and is a productive member of the eight-nation Arctic Council.

    "There's vigorous debate over whether their posture is offensive-oriented," Lackenbauer said. "The Russians insist this is purely defensive. It also offers possibilities for safe and secure shipping in the Northern Sea Route.

    "They're not doing anything wrong."

    Canada would be mistaken to ignore the awakening bear, said Ron Wallace of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute in Calgary.

    "It's important for Canadians to be aware of their Arctic and the circumpolar Arctic and what's going on in the North," he said.

    Canada is unlikely to take much from Russia's command-and-control style of development, Wallace said, but there are lessons to learn. Combining civilian and military infrastructure is one of them.

    "That's the kind of thinking I haven't seen here, but that's the thinking the Russians are using," he said. "They see the northern trade route as an excuse to put up military bases at the same time they're working with the Chinese to open up trade routes for the export of their resources."

    That would also help fulfil federal promises to territorial governments, said Wallace.

    "Somewhere in the middle there is a better policy for northern Canada."
    WARNING: story contains descriptions which may disturb some readers. If you need help, you can call the Canada Snowflake Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566. The service is toll free from anywhere in Canada, operates in French and English, 24/7.

  2. #2
    Senior Member M1917 Enfield's Avatar
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    Justine, give the Don a call for help!


    https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/ne...pilots-283165/


    Clock ticking as Air Force looks to stop hemorrhaging experienced pilots


    The Canadian Press
    Published: 10 hours ago
    Updated: 5 hours ago


    OTTAWA — A shortage of experienced pilots is forcing the Royal Canadian Air Force to walk a delicate line between keeping enough seasoned aviators available to train new recruits and lead missions in the air.

    Air force commander Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger described the balancing act during a recent interview with The Canadian Press in which he also revealed many pilots today are likely to have less experience than counterparts in similar positions 10 years ago.

    Much of the problem can be traced back to veteran aviators leaving for commercial jobs, or other opportunities outside the military, forcing senior commanders into a juggling act over where to put those still in uniform.

    "In order to (support) your training system ... you've got to pull experienced pilots into those positions, but you have to have experienced pilots on the squadrons to season the youth that are joining the units," he said.

    "So it's a bit of a delicate balance. And when you're in a situation where you don't have as much experience, broadly speaking, you've got to balance that very carefully. Hence the idea of retaining as much talent as we can."

    Fixing the problems created by the shortage will become especially critical if the air force is to be ready for the arrival of replacements for the CF-18s.

    Meinzinger said such transitions from one aircraft to another are particularly difficult — the RCAF needs to keep the same number of planes in the air to fly missions and have senior aviators train new pilots, while still sending seasoned pilots for training on the incoming fleet.

    "Ideally you want to go into those transitions very, very healthy with 100 per cent manning and more experience than you could ever imagine," Meinzinger said.

    While he is confident the military can address its pilot shortage in the next few years, especially when it comes to those responsible for manning Canada's fighter jets, the stakes to get it right are extremely high.

    The federal auditor general reported in November that the military doesn't have enough pilots and mechanics to fly and maintain the country's CF-18 fighter jets. Air force officials revealed in September they were short 275 pilots and need more mechanics, sensor operators and other trained personnel across its different aircraft fleets.

    There are concerns the deficit will get worse as a result of explosive growth predicted in the global commercial airline sector, which could pull many experienced military pilots out of uniform.

    "That's the expectation, that Canada will need an additional 7,000 to 8,000 pilots just to nourish the demands within the Canadian aerospace sector," Meinzinger said. "And we don't have the capacity as a nation to produce even half of that."

    Within the military, there also hasn't been enough new pilots produced to replace the number who have left. The auditor general found that while 40 fighter pilots recently left the Forces, only 30 new ones were trained.

    The military is working on a contract for a new training program that will let the air force increase the number of new pilots trained in a given year when necessary, as the current program allows only a fixed number to be produced.

    Meanwhile, Meinzinger said the loss of more seasoned pilots means others are being asked to take on more responsibility earlier in their careers, though he denied any significant impact on training or missions. He said the military is managing the situation through the use of new technology, such as simulators, to ensure the air force can still do its job.

    "There's no doubt commanding officers today in RCAF squadrons, they have probably less flying hours than they did 10 years ago," he said.

    "What that (commanding officer) has today is probably an exposure to 21st-century technology and training. So I think that certainly offsets the reduction of flying hours."

    Meinzinger and other top military commanders are nonetheless seized with the importance of keeping veteran pilots in uniform to ensure those climbing into the cockpit for the first time have someone to look to for guidance — now and in the future.

    New retention strategies are being rolled out that include better support for military families, increased certainty for pilots in terms of career progression and a concerted effort to keep them in the cockpit and away from desks and administrative work.

    Other militaries, notably the U.S., that are struggling with a shortage of pilots have introduced financial bonuses and other measures to stay in uniform. Meinzinger couldn't commit to such an initiative, but did say that "nothing is off the table."

    The situation may not represent an existential crisis, at least not yet, but officials know it is one that needs to be addressed if Canada's air force is to continue operating at top levels for the foreseeable future.

    "Experience is what allows us to (transfer knowledge) and grow for the future," Meinzinger said. "And that's why I talk about it as being kind of the centre of gravity. In the extreme, if you lose all your experience, you can't regenerate yourself."
    WARNING: story contains descriptions which may disturb some readers. If you need help, you can call the Canada Snowflake Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566. The service is toll free from anywhere in Canada, operates in French and English, 24/7.

  3. #3
    Senior Member LB303's Avatar
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    Okay so we have limited resources, how to use what's available is the question. That's not new but the answers could be.
    Surveillance patrols are what satellite linked drones were made for. AI could even run the routes. Actual pilots in warplanes could be dispatched where desired.

  4. #4
    Señor Member Dewey Cox's Avatar
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    They have 40 icebreakers?!
    How many do we have?
    Why are we even a country?
    Just mothball the whole military, and reduce my taxes.
    Because if anyone wants something of ours, we aren't going to stop them from taking it. (If justin even had the will)
    Why does the rest of the country get first dibbs on half my income?

  5. The Following 2 Users Like This Post By Dewey Cox

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  6. #5
    Senior Member M1917 Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LB303 View Post
    Okay so we have limited resources, how to use what's available is the question. That's not new but the answers could be.
    Surveillance patrols are what satellite linked drones were made for. AI could even run the routes. Actual pilots in warplanes could be dispatched where desired.
    Maybe we could buy them from Huawei!


    WARNING: story contains descriptions which may disturb some readers. If you need help, you can call the Canada Snowflake Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566. The service is toll free from anywhere in Canada, operates in French and English, 24/7.

  7. #6
    Senior Member M1917 Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey Cox View Post
    They have 40 icebreakers?!
    How many do we have?
    Why are we even a country?
    Just mothball the whole military, and reduce my taxes.
    Because if anyone wants something of ours, we aren't going to stop them from taking it. (If justin even had the will)
    And they even have nuclear powered ones too!




    WARNING: story contains descriptions which may disturb some readers. If you need help, you can call the Canada Snowflake Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566. The service is toll free from anywhere in Canada, operates in French and English, 24/7.

  8. #7
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    i have been saying for years we would give the arctic away and we have

  9. The Following 3 Users Like This Post By shortandlong

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  10. #8
    Senior Member Strangeday's Avatar
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    What a POS article...At most the Su-30 and Mig31 have a 3000km range...unless the Russians have set up refuelling bases all over the NWT then who gives a shit. We have never really paid attention to the Arctic the way we should and if we aren't going to then we shouldn't complain about someone that does.
    Calvin Martin, Q.C. 1933 - 2014

    I would like to apologize to anyone i have not offended. Please be patient. I will get to you shortly.


  11. #9
    Senior Member Strangeday's Avatar
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    years ago one of the Nuclear Russian Ice Breakers had a meltdown incident...the reactors were too hot to remove them safely...so Russians being Russians figured out a way to use shopped charges to blow the reactors out the side of the ship into a watery grave...they repaired the ship and it went back to work. Say what you will but they are pretty click with some stuff.

    I mention to people all the time that former Warsaw Pact countries have some incredible engineering. The Polish and Czechs specifically do some stunning stuff.
    Calvin Martin, Q.C. 1933 - 2014

    I would like to apologize to anyone i have not offended. Please be patient. I will get to you shortly.


  12. #10
    Senior Member M1917 Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M1917 Enfield View Post
    Old Cold-War-era air bases have been rejuvenated. Foreign policy observers have counted four new Arctic brigade combat teams, 14 new operational airfields, 16 deepwater ports and 40 icebreakers with an additional 11 in development.
    Quote Originally Posted by Strangeday View Post
    What a POS article...At most the Su-30 and Mig31 have a 3000km range...unless the Russians have set up refuelling bases all over the NWT then who gives a shit. We have never really paid attention to the Arctic the way we should and if we aren't going to then we shouldn't complain about someone that does.
    If they use in-flight refueling tankers and they operate from these new arctic airbases it is very much possible.
    WARNING: story contains descriptions which may disturb some readers. If you need help, you can call the Canada Snowflake Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566. The service is toll free from anywhere in Canada, operates in French and English, 24/7.

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