Operation NEON extended till April 2023

Above image: see below for information. 

Last month, Marc Garneau, minister of foreign affairs, and Harjit S. Sajjan, minister of national defence, announced the Government of Canada is extending Operation NEON until April 30, 2023.

“Canada is committed to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. The extension of Operation NEON demonstrates Canada’s continued support of the UN Security Council sanctions regime, which seeks to compel North Korea to change course and abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs,” stated Garneau in a press release dated April 23, 2021.

Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force conduct Deck Evolutions with Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) WINNIPEG during Operation PROJECTION on 20 November 2020. Photo by: Sailor 1st Class Valerie LeClair, MARPAC Imaging Services. Image courtesy of CAF.


Canada has frequently deployed CAF ships, aircraft, and personnel to counter North Korea’s evasion of maritime sanctions to manage surveillance operations since 2019.

Operation NEON is part of the multinational initiative. In the past, the surveillance operations were done under Op PROJECTION Asia-Pacific. However, now Canada’s contribution falls under “Operation NEON.”

The press release explained that “With key partners and allies by their side, Canada is helping to address the threat to international security posed by North Korea’s ongoing nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.”

Leading Seaman Gordon Mclean replaces a sensor on the fuel valve in the after engine room onboard HMCS OTTAWA during Operations PROJECTION and NEON, off the coast of South Korea, September 1, 2019. Photo: Leading Seaman Victoria Ioganov. Image courtesy of CAF.


Sajjan noted, “Canada fully supports the UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea. Through Operation NEON, we provide a meaningful presence, strengthen regional ties, and support the rules-based international order.”

On a rotational basis, the CAF deploys an RCN Halifax-class frigate with an embarked maritime helicopter detachment, an RCAF CP-140 Aurora with a crew and supporting personnel, and three CAF members embedded permanently into the Enforcement Coordination Cell (ECC) onboard USS Blue Ridge (U.S. 7th Fleet) based in Japan as part of Operation NEON.

The press release noted North Korea continues to modify its practice of sanctions evasion, and renewing Operation NEON will allow the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to continue surveillance operations.

A CH-148 Cyclone helicopter and a CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft fly over HMCS WINNIPEG as part of a photo exercise in the Asia-Pacific Region during Operation NEON, November 15, 2020.
Photo: Sailor 1st Class Valerie LeClair, MARPAC Imaging Services. Image courtesy of CAF.


Operation NEON emphasizes Canada’s commitment to security in the Indo-Pacific region, international security and highlights the need to sustain the UNSC sanctions regime. It also falls in line with Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged.

The press release confirmed that the following Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) ships and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft have deployed on Operation NEON:

    • HMCS Regina, with an embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter, Naval Replenishment Unit (NRU) Asterix, and an RCAF CP-140 Aurora Air Detachment deployed in June 2019;
    • HMCS Ottawa with an embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter and CP-140 Aurora Air Detachment deployed in September 2019; and,
    • HMCS Winnipeg with an embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter and a CP-140 Aurora Air Detachment deployed in October 2020.

Right now, the CAF is planning Operation NEON’s next deployment of a Halifax-class frigate, with its embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter and a CP-140 Aurora detachment, this fall.

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Julia Lennips

Julia is a journalist who is an avid reader and an artist. She is living in North Bay, ON pursing her passion for reporting.

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