CAF members demonstrate specialized Arctic skill sets with international partners

News Article / February 25, 2020

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From National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces

About 350 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Regular and Reserve personnel have deployed to Resolute Bay and Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, on Operation Nanook-Nunalivut 2020 (Op Na-Nu 20). Royal Canadian Air Force 440 (Transport) Squadron is participating in the operation.

From February 24 to March 27, 2020, CAF personnel and international partners are working together to enhance and test their specialized Arctic skill sets and reaffirm their ability to operate in the High Arctic.

All activities and phases of Op NA-NU 20 are planned and commanded by Joint Task Force (North) on behalf of Canadian Joint Operations Command, and executed by the Task Force Nunalivut headquarters element, based in Resolute Bay and Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

“Each year, Operation NANOOK-NUNALIVUT provides us with a renewed focus on our operational capabilities and effectiveness in the High Arctic”, said Brigadier-General Patrick Carpentier, Commander, Joint Task Force (North). “The North is a vast, harsh and unique place to operate and, because of this, careful preparations and close collaboration with our northern partners is key. Sharing knowledge with our partners and allies will allow us to be better able to adapt to new demands and challenges in the North, and address common northern defence, security and safety concerns in the High Arctic.”

Canadian participation in the operation includes personnel from 440 (Transport) Squadron (Trenton, Ontario); 12e Régiment blindé du Canada (Valcartier, Québec); 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group members (various patrols in the North); Arctic Response Company Group (primary reserve units under 35 Canadian Brigade Group from la Ville de Québec); Canadian Army Combat Divers from across the country; Royal Canadian Navy Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic divers (Halifax, Nova Scotia); and members of the Joint Task Force (North) Support Component.

International participation includes personnel from the United States 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and 12 divers from Belgium, Finland and France.

From ground and underwater activities through complex logistical support to building and maintaining austere landing strips, Op Na-Nu 20 both demonstrates the presence and capabilities of the CAF in the Arctic, and improves our readiness to operate in the region, key components of Canada’s Defence Policy – Strong, Secure, Engaged. Operations such as Op NA-NU 20 also enhance Canada’s ability to work effectively with northern partners and Allies.

All activities and phases of Op Na-Nu 20 are planned and commanded by Joint Task Force (North) on behalf of Canadian Joint Operations Command, and executed by the Task Force Nunalivut headquarters element, based in Resolute Bay and Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

Specialized Arctic skill-sets include:

  • Arctic diving operations.
  • Underwater equipment recovery operations.
  • Tactical movement across sea ice.
  • Tactical communications in an Arctic environment which prohibits the use of traditional means.
  • Long range patrolling in Arctic conditions (extreme cold weather and low light/visibility).
  • Sustainment of long range operations in austere Arctic conditions.
  • Landing of CAF aircraft on austere landing strips.


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