Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace Defence
After the fall of the Soviet Union, it may have seemed as though the Air Force had nothing to worry about. However, this is not the case. NORAD is still, since 1958, responsible for the air sovereignty and security of Canada. This includes tracking illegal drug smugglers, assisting planes in distress, search and rescue operations, working with Air Traffic Controllers around the country as well as escorting the occasional Russian plane that comes to 'visit'.
Space defence is also increasingly important as more objects go into orbit around the Earth. Watching for objects in space includes spy satellites, broken satellites or 'space junk' including tools, broken bits of equipment or even flecks of paint. Should objects hit another orbiting object, they could cause serious damage, just as larger objects could pose a threat if they come crashing down to Earth. Fortunately, both of these occurrences are rare, thanks to those who track objects in space.
The Cold War may be over, but it is still critical to have constant knowledge on what and who is in Canadian airspace. Those who work in air defence are monitoring the skies all day, every day, and quietly ensure our safety as we go about our lives.