An exercise designed to assess North American aerospace strength, brought together 700 members of the CAF, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and the U.S. National Guard for Exercise Vigilant Shield 16. Forces deployed to Iqaluit, Nunavut and 5 Wing Goose Bay from Oct. 15 to 26.
“The aim of the exercise was to deploy NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) assets to the NORAD Forward Operating Locations (FOLs) in Iqaluit NU and 5 Wing Goose Bay NL and then exercise our ability to detect, deter and defend against threats to North America’s sovereign airspace in the High Arctic,” said Commanding Officer Kyle Paul of the Canadian Detachment Eastern Air Defence Sector, Air Force Task Commander in Goose Bay.
NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, is a bi-national military organization created to provide maritime warning, aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America. NORAD works to deter and detect any threats to Canadian and U.S. air sovereignty. Vigilant Shield was designed for both countries to come together and test out their abilities and readiness.
“We have an outstanding relationship with our American counterparts. NORAD is a bi-national command that has existed for over 50 years looking at the collective defense of our airspace utilizing the best resources available whether they be Canadian or American. So in that sense we don’t necessarily divide up our airspace into Canadian or American but rather view the defense of our sovereign North American airspace as a collective responsibility and are used to working alongside one another,” stated Paul.
During the ten days of the exercise, Goose Bay residents witnessed CC-150 Polaris, a CH-146 Griffon helicopter, F-15 Eagles, E-2 Hawkeye and many more American and Canadian aircrafts flying overhead.
Paul described the exercise a success.
“I believe the exercise was very successful. We were able to demonstrate that we can operate from our FOLs and operate in the High Arctic utilizing Royal Canadian Air Force, United States Air Force and United States Navy assets. This exercise afforded us the opportunity to refine our tactics and ensure that we are ready, willing and able to counter any threat to our sovereign airspace. It was truly an honour to be a part of it,” noted Paul.
Above: A CF-188 Hornet fighter jet waits its turn to move onto the runway during Exercise VIGILANT SHIELD 16 in Iqaluit, Nunavut on October 22, 2015. Photo: MCpl Pat Blanchard, Canadian Forces Combat Camera IS04-2015-0028-004