Canadian Air Force
Thirteen wings are located across Canada. The Wings conduct Air Force operations under the direction of 1 Cdn Air Div and CANR. The annual operating budget for the Air Force is approximately $2.5 billion. Compared to other NATO allies, this budget is comparatively small; however, it provides Canadians with security at home and global airlift and operations in support of Canada's foreign policy. The monies are dedicated to operating and maintaining a fleet of over 333 aircraft and 13 Wings located in all regions of the country.
The Air Force also plays a pivotal role in protecting Canada's sovereignty by guarding against those who would take advantage of its vast size, miles of coastline and border to carry out illegal or harmful activities. In concert with the navy, Air Force maritime aircraft maintain surveillance of Canadian territorial waters and the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone. The CP-140 Aurora crews based in Comox, B.C. and Greenwood, N.S., maintain an underwater surveillance and control capability in the event of submarine interventions off the coasts.
The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) is a bi-national United States and Canadian organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America, as well as monitoring our respective maritime regions. NORAD is a unique partnership in the world. After 50 years, it continues to play a vital role in ensuring the mutual security of the two nations. The Air Force is the key component in Canada's contribution to NORAD. Approximately 300 Canadian Air Force personnel are based at various NORAD locations in the U.S., including NORAD Headquarters in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado and at U.S. bases in Tinker, Oklahoma and Elmendorf, Alaska.
The Air Force flies peace support missions and conveys relief workers, emergency food and medical supplies to scenes of natural disasters or where armed conflicts have left little behind. Often one of the first to be called upon by the United Nations (UN), Canada frequently contributes advice, military personnel and equipment to peace support efforts. While the army makes up the vast majority of our peace support capability, it is the Air Force that delivers them to trouble spots around the world and sustains their operations with supplies from Canada.
Canada as a country is singularly indebted to aviation, which opened up the North and remains an essential lifeline to many areas of this vast dominion. Canada's Air Force contributes to a proud and distinguished record as International Peacekeepers and providers of humanitarian aid to all corners of the globe. From the moment Canadian airmen first flew with the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service to the more recent creation and implementation of Canada Command, Canada's Air Force has continuously evolved to meet current and future challenges. Once referred to as the "Aerodrome of Democracy", Canada's Air Force continues to contribute knowledge, technology and intrepid heroes to the world.
Canada's Air Force is undergoing wide-scale modernization in order to continue to deliver excellence at home, to be a strong and reliable partner in the defence of North America, and to project leadership abroad by making meaningful contributions to operations overseas. Modernization includes acquisition of new aircraft and adapting to meet the technological advances of the 21st century. This vital transformation is occurring while the Air Force's operational tempo is higher than ever as Canada continues to support combat operations in Afghanistan as well as important domestic and other overseas missions. It also comes at a time when the Air Force, like all employers, faces a challenging demographic situation. Not only is the aging "baby boomer" population beginning to retire, the Air Force must also contend with a competitive labor market both to retain those currently in uniform and to attract new recruits.
In today's Canadian Forces (CF), members are assigned to one of three distinctive elements: the Air Force, Army or Navy. About 20,000 members of the Regular Force (employed full-time and usually enrolled for long-term service) as well as about 2860 Primary Reservists (who train regularly and may work alongside their Regular Force counterparts on a part-time and sometimes full-time basis) wear the "Air Force blue" uniform. But because the Canadian Forces is a unified, "tri-service" force, not everyone wearing an Air Force uniform works exclusively in support of Air operations. Some work for the Army, Navy, or other commands or headquarters units; similarly, some people wearing Army or Navy uniforms work in support of the Air Force.
In Spring 2010, the Air Force had 12,829 Regular Force and 3,391 Primary Reserve positions established to meet its defence obligations. Of those, 12,030 Regular Force and 2284 Reservists were trained and being effectively employed in these positions. This means that the Regular Force workforce is more than 6 per cent undermanned, while the Air Reserve is more than 30 per cent undermanned.
The Royal Canadian Air Force conducted its first airstrike in Syria, following government’s decision to extend Canada’s contribution to US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL), the country’s Defense Department said on 08 April 2015. “This first airstrike under the expanded mandate demonstrates our government's firm resolve to tackle the threat of terrorism against Canada and to promote international security and stability,” Minister of National Defense Jason Kenney said in a statement. Two Canadian CF-18s joined other US aircraft in the airstrike, which targeted IS garrison near Ar Raqqah, Syria, with the use of precision-guided munitions. In March 2015, the Canadian government extended its mission by another year and allowed the air force to bomb IS targets inside Syria.
Canada conducted airstrikes again the Daesh in Syria and Iraq in coordination with the US-led coalition since 2014. Canada’s planes conducted over 250 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria combined starting from October 2014.
"In accordance with Government of Canada direction, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) ceased airstrike operations in Iraq and Syria on 15 February 2016," the Canadian Armed Forces said 18 February 2016 in a statement. "The six CF-188 Hornets, along with associated aircrew and support personnel, will depart the region in a phased approach in the coming weeks. The CC-150 Polaris and CP-140 Aurora aircraft will continue to conduct air-to-air refueling and aerial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions in support of coalition air operations," the statement said.
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