NAV CANADA partners with NORAD for air defence training

26 May 2021 – NAV Canada

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) routinely conducts exercises to ensure the defence of North American airspace.

Civilian and military agencies must work closely together when Canada must respond to potential air threats in times of duress. Military fighter jet pilots work with civilian air traffic controllers and air defence control units to undertake aircraft identification and interception in high-density airspace.

On May 26, 2021, NAV CANADA partnered with NORAD and other government agencies to conduct exercise AMALGAM HAWK 21, a military operation that tests air incident response protocols and inter-agency coordination between Canada and US organizations.

The annual NORAD exercise exemplifies a high degree of coordination involving:

  • Continental U.S. NORAD Region
  • Canadian NORAD Region
  • Canadian Air Defence Sector
  • Eastern Air Defense Sector
  • RCMP
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • U.S. Transportation Security Administration
  • Transport Canada
  • Boston ARTCC
  • Montreal Airport Authority

“These international training exercises require a highly coordinated response and prepare everyone involved to be ready to respond in the event of aerospace threats to North America, “ said Erik Doucet, NAV CANADA’s Manager of Military and Regulatory Coordination.

NORAD is a bi-national organization responsible for ensuring air sovereignty and air defence of the airspace of Canada and the United States.

“NORAD is the force of last resort to protect the citizens of Canada and the United States from any threats in the air domain. We must ensure that North America is not an “easy target” for malign actors or actions. In order to test responses, systems and equipment, we routinely conduct carefully planned and executed exercises, such as Exercise AMALGAM HAWK, year-round in various weather conditions and with a variety of scenarios, including airspace restriction violations, hijackings and responding to unknown aircraft, in order to maintain NORAD’s rapid response capabilities, ” said Major-General Eric Kenny, Commander, Canadian NORAD Region.

While NORAD is responsible for the day to day security of North American airspace, US and Canadian law-enforcement agencies and civilian government agencies on both sides of the border play a critical role in maintaining the safety of our airspace.