Canada’s Department of National Defense has recently announced that it will purchase “cutting edge” missile defense radars modeled after Israel’s Iron Dome – the system which the small country built to defend itself from rocket attacks by Palestinian militants.
Under the perceived right-wing premiership of Stephen Harper, whose government has been criticized for “altering the face of Canada,” the country has stepped up its military involvement, most recently in the U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in the Middle East.
And following along from a more offensive position on the world stage, the NATO-member is also ramping up its defenses, as part of what experts call a new strategy to handle increasingly sophisticated insurgent moments.
“With the collapse of militaries, and indeed failed states, becoming a growing reality insurgencies have become far more sophisticated and possess advanced weapons systems. Insuring security for both civilians and military/security forces is essential to the success of stabilization and Counterinsurgency (COIN) efforts,” said Chris Murray, an associate editor at military analysis site DefenceReport.
Murray also expects more Canadian involvement could follow, in light of “failed states” that could export insurgency and militancy beyond their borders.
He also argued that “airspace deniability is a necessary element to addressing this need.”
“It is highly likely you will see more technology such as this enter the field as a part of developing counterinsurgency strategies. In this regard, Canada’s acquisition may end up being quite unremarkable,” he added.
Col. Edward Campbell, a retired Canadian officer said that the new radars are “the best in the market,” and that they fill a “fairly long standing-operational need for operations overseas, which Canada does join on a pretty regular basis.”
With the delivery of the German and Israeli-manufactured radar systems expected to start in 2017, the upgraded system will work in concert with other acoustic and radar technologies Canada already possesses.
Using the technology - expected to cost around $190 million - Canada’s military will gain the ability to detect hostile indirect fire, locate the position of the enemy weapon, and calculate the point of impact of a projectile, as well as simultaneously tracking multiple airborne threats.
The Canadian army has already deployed a number of personnel in Central and Eastern Europe as part of NATO assurance measures.
In March, Canada became the second NATO member state after the United States to attack ISIS positions in Syria after its parliament passed a motion in support of a deeper military mission in the Middle East.
Despite attempts to “degrade and destroy” ISIS’s capabilities - in the words of Barack Obama - the Islamist militants are still in control of large swathes of territories in both Iraq and Syria, with both countries being so far unable to claw back the land from the group.
And with elections in October looming, Ottawa is expected to sharpen its teeth further.
“I think a great deal of [Canada’s growing presence on the world stage] comes down to domestic politics in Canada. The current Conservative government, which faces elections in October has tended to take a more ‘hawkish’ line in what is certainly a more, shall we say ‘engaged’ foreign policy – not only in the Middle East but in Ukraine as well,” said Murray.SHOW MORE