Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

A Russian Tu-160 strategic bomber is seen at Engels Air Base, near Saratov, Russia, in an Aug. 7, 2008, file photo.

The Canadian Press

Two long-range Russian bombers capable of carrying nuclear missiles buzzed Canadian airspace on Friday morning, the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) said, days after a senior military officer warned that North America’s early-warning system is outdated.

The two TU-160 Blackjack bombers crossed the North Pole and approached Canada from western Russia, but remained in international airspace before departing, according to NORAD.

NORAD said it tracked the supersonic bombers as they flew through Canada’s air defence identification zone, which is an area of international airspace the military monitors to protect against any possible attack, but did not scramble fighters to intercept the Russians.

Story continues below advertisement

It was the first time Russian bombers have been detected approaching North America since August, when Russia conducted a number of bomber flights in the Arctic, the Baltics and other places.

“Our adversaries continue to flex their long-range weapons systems and engage in increasingly aggressive efforts, to include the approaches to the United States and Canada,” General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the U.S. commander of NORAD, said in a statement on Friday.

“NORAD is driven by a single unyielding priority: defending the U.S. and Canada, our homelands, from attack.”

This most recent flight follows increased warnings from Canadian and U.S. military officers, including Gen. O’Shaughnessy, that the technology underpinning the NORAD system is obsolete.

The most recent officer to voice such concerns was Commodore Jamie Clarke, a Canadian who is NORAD’s deputy director of strategy. He said this week that NORAD cannot identify and track long-range Russian bombers before they are close enough to launch missiles at the continent.

The federal government has said it is committed to modernizing the system, but talks with the U.S. have been minimal and no money has been set aside for what is expected to be a multibillion-dollar project.

NORAD’s technology was last upgraded in the 1980s, before the end of the Cold War, though the U.S. did incorporate the ability to shoot down incoming missiles in the mid-2000s. Canada decided in 2005 against joining what is now known as ballistic-missile defence.

Story continues below advertisement

Since then, Russia and China have been developing and building new weapons that can strike North America from afar, including cruise and hypersonic missiles, drones, along with more advanced submarines and other naval vessels as well as space-based and cyber weapons.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Follow related topics

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies