Volume #23 - 135.|
DEFENCE AND SECURITY ISSUES
JAMES BAY BOMBING RANGE
Memorandum from Minister of National Defence|
to Cabinet Defence Committee
DOCUMENT NO. D-20-56|
September 26th, 1956|
ESTABLISHMENT OF A BOMBING RANGE IN JAMES BAY FOR USE BY THE
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND|
1. With the important object of improving the effectiveness of the Canadian air defence system, particularly with respect to electronic countermeasures and aircraft interceptions, the RCAF desires that the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command be encouraged to route more of its training flights through the main air defence area in Canada, thus gaining two major benefits for the RCAF. Firstly, this is by far the most economic means whereby the entire air defence system can be effectively exercised against modern bombers under realistic operating conditions. Secondly, because the RCAF possesses only limited Electronic Countermeasures training capability, the operation by Strategic Air Command aircraft of Electronic Countermeasures equipment provides urgently required training to RCAF fighter aircrew and ground control radar operators.
2. Strategic Air Command training flights are organized to provide maximum training for all crew members. Accordingly, by preference they are routed through areas containing a radar bomb scoring unit, counter Electronic Counter-measures, interceptor squadrons, aircraft control and warning units, bombing and gunnery ranges. Consequently, to encourage Strategic Air Command to schedule more of its training flights through Canada, it is desired to make available for Strategic Air Command use a bombing and gunnery range. For both the RCAF and Strategic Air Command the best location for this facility is in the James Bay area.
3. The RCAF, in consultation with other Government Departments, has selected an isolated and uninhabited water area in James Bay, under Federal Jurisdiction, bounded by 50º32'N, 79º40'W, 80º20'W, which will be suitable for a range. The range will not require to be manned and needs only the erection of a simple radar reflector target on a small uninhabited island, the only island in the range area, and the erection thereon of warning notices; all at negligible cost. The range area required is 25 x 50 miles in which high altitude practice bombing can be carried out by radar or visual bomb sighting, employing photo-flash practice bombs or concrete filled practice bombs containing a small powder charge for spotting. The firing of .5" and 20 millimeter aircraft guns within the area is included in order that all members of the bomber crew are exercised in their duties on each flight.
4. Coincident with the establishment of this training facility it will be necessary to amend existing regulations governing the clearance of United States Strategic Air Command training flights over Canadian territory. Accordingly, it is recommended that Appendix A to the Permanent Joint Board on Defence Journal of Jan 1955, para (e) of Part I Section I (as approved by Cabinet Defence Committee at its 101st Meeting on Nov 12, 1954), be amended as per the underlined portions of the attached draft to include authority for dropping of practice bombs, photo-flash bombs, and air-to-air firing; employing only inert materials (non-Atomic).
5. The Chiefs of Staff recommend, and I concur, that the RCAF be granted permission to establish a bombing and air firing range in James Bay to support training flights by the United States Strategic Air Command over Canada.94
[APPENDICE A/APPENDIX A] Confidential
movement of aircraft across the border
Note: Service to Service - Either of the Services may make arrangements with the interested Service of the other country.
Type of Flight
1. Strategic Air Command Training Flights.
Channel of Communication and Clearing Authority
Service to Service - Cleared annually in advance by the Chief of the Air Staff with the following restrictions on flights:
(a) RCAF will be provided a flight plan of missions at least 24 hours prior to aircraft penetrating Canadian territory (Action copy to RCAF Air Defence Command; information copy to HQ RCAF).
(b) Instrument flight rule flight plans will be filed on all flights into or over Canadian territory.
(c) The number of aircraft participating in any single flight over Canadian territory should not exceed 25.
(d) While performing camera bombing and radar scope photography over Canadian cities, aircraft will fly over at a high altitude and no more than one aircraft should fly over a Canadian city at one time.
(e) When photo-flash bombs, practice bombs and other types of armament are carried, or dropped within authorized Bombing and Gunnery Ranges, all safety precautions as practiced in the U.S. are to be observed. (This document does not relate to the carrying of nuclear weapons or components.)
Approved by the Canadian Government on November 24, 1954.
(f) Comprehensive Visual Photographic Flight Logs and Radar Scope Logs will be completed for all photos taken over Canada and supplied to the RCAF in 5 copies.
(g) The RCAF will be supplied (upon request) with any photographs listed in the logs.
(h) The RCAF will receive one print of all photographs of Canadian territory taken north of sixty degrees north.
(i) When photography is obtained over established radar bomb scoring sites, (i) and (j) will be complied with for the initial flights only. Comprehensive logs of photography obtained on subsequent missions will be provided to the RCAF when coverage not included on the initial flights is obtained.
(j) When photography is obtained by aircraft in formation or by individual aircraft following the same flight path, the film strip of the best quality will be selected for processing in accordance with paras (i) and (j).
(k) All photographs taken over Canada will be given a
classification of Confidential or higher and none will be
distributed to another agency without prior reference to the