In CanadaCanada's Air Force is at work every day here at home, through our 13 Wings stationed across the country. Whether it's defending Canadian airspace, flying search and rescue missions that save lives, intercepting aircraft or ships carrying illegal drugs or providing relief during national disasters like floods or ice storms, we play a direct role in keeping Canada and Canadians safe.
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.
The Air Force is often called upon to fight a different sort of battle - confronting the whims of nature.
Evacuation of injured or threatened people, ferrying in supplies and vital equipment, flying reconnaissance missions to keep rescue and civilian forces informed of developments - these are the tasks carried out by the Air Force. We are also deployed on the ground during such emergencies, helping wherever needed. Sometimes this means working to restore power and heat, distributing food and medical assistance, or setting up emergency shelters and helping people reach them.
In concert with the navy, our 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 our coasts.
Protecting our Natural and Economic ResourcesCanadians treasure their country, which is rich in natural beauty and in resources. The Air Force helps to protect both. In cooperation with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, CP-140 Aurora and CH-124 Sea King helicopter crews keep a sharp eye on the country's coastline, keeping track of dwindling fish stocks and encroachments of other boats into our claimed offshore commercial areas.
Watching for Polluters and Illegal Fishing
Air Force crews work with Environment Canada in a vigilant watch for ships discharging pollutants such as bilge water or bunker oil that kill marine life and foul our shoreline.In the future it is hoped that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may be used to help the Air Force watch for polluters.
Counter-Drug SurveillanceWorking in concert with provincial and federal law enforcement agencies and related government departments, Air Force patrols help find marijuana-growing operations in remote areas. They are also responsible for spotting and identifying numerous small planes or ships transporting narcotics that will end up on our streets and school yards.
Using the CP-140 Aurora's special surveillance abilities, Air Force personnel help law enforcement agencies keep illegal drugs worth millions of dollars out of circulation.
Keeping Watch for Illegal Immigrants
Air Force patrols also keep track of the activities of merchant vessels in our waters and conduct searches for missing or distressed ships. Sometimes, the ships or planes are carrying illegal immigrants who want to enter Canada without going through the necessary clearances, or criminals who know they would not be welcome in our country.