NORAD Speaks

Canadian defense officials just recently released the route taken by a purported Chinese spy balloon traversing their airspace earlier this month. As reported in Global News, Maj. Gen. Paul Prévost, director of staff with Strategic Joint Staff,  told MPs sitting on the House of Commons National Defence committee, “It came down pretty much from Alaska down into Yukon and into central BC, so pretty much between the border of Alberta and the coast.”

Pelletier talks about the difficulties that balloons are providing to NORAD. Screenshot from Global News

Lieutenant General Alain Pelletier, Deputy Commander of NORAD, was recently interviewed by Global News and reported the following:

“The detection, tracking and monitoring of these objects have highlighted some challenges for NORAD. Some of these objects have been small in size, and slow in speed with low radar cross-sections.  This makes them difficult to be detected and tracked on radar, challenging to locate with airborne assets and difficult to categorize. While these objects may not have showcased hostile acts or hostile intent, the aircraft’s proximity to aviation routes, populated areas, and sensitive defense infrastructure have raised concerns.

As we’ve seen during recent events, the threat to North America has rapidly evolved from a northern approach long-range aviation to a 360° threat for all domains. I believe this is the first time in the history of NORAD that Canada or the US have actually taken kinetic actions against an airborne object in Canadian and American airspace. And it is important that we maintain the necessary capabilities to continue to do so.