The Canadian Department of National Defense is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with the US Defense Department within the next few weeks codifying Canada’s participation in the Air Force’s Wideband Global Satellite Communications network, reports the Vancouver Sun. The Canadian parliament recently authorized Defense Minister Peter MacKay to invest upwards of $464 million ($477 million Canadian) to secure Canada’s place in the program, according to an earlier Vancouver Sun report. Experiences in Afghanistan and Libya have proven the necessity of reliable battlefield communications, according to Canadian defense officials. Already Australia is a partner in the WGS program. Additionally, allies Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and New Zealand have expressed interest in joining. Already, three WGS spacecraft are operating on orbit. The next satellite in the series, WGS-4, has arrived at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., for its scheduled launch on Jan. 19, announced the Air Force Thursday.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.