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Canadian NORAD Region Forward Operating Location Inuvik:

Originally opened as Naval Radio Station Frobisher Bay in 1953 as a High Frequency Direction Finding Station, replacing the former NRS Fort Chimo, one of Canada’s National Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) organization. The airfield at the station had existed since 1944, when it was build by American engineers and later transferred to the Canadian Government.

No. 926 Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron (USAF) operated the radar facilities at the station from 1953 to 1961. The RCAF assumed control of Frobisher Bay during the summer of 1958.

The “Upper site” of the station was abandoned in 1974. The “Lower site” with the airfield, became the Inuvik Airport.

In 1994, FOL Inuvik was established at the Inuvik Airport as part of the North American Air Defence Modernization program. FOL Inuvik is one of four per-deployment site across Canada for the RCAF’s CF-18 fighter jets to respond to national security emergencies in the remote and isolated regions of northern Canada. The others are located in Rankin Inlet, Yellowknife and Iqaluit.

The airport hangars and facilities were upgraded to include barracks and office space to support a staff of up to 200 personnel, storage facilities and up to 6 fighter jets. Additionally, Aurora aircraft regularily contuct Arctic surveillance and reconnaissance patrols.

Source Material: Canada’s national Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) organization web site – http://www.tscm.com/cse.html, Communications & Electronics Museum site www.c-and-e-museum.org, Inuvik Community Profile – http://inuvik.ca/living-in-inuvik/community-profile/inuvik-history & the Pinetree Line web site – http://www.pinetreeline.org/other/other17/other17a.html.

For the full story of NRS Frobisher Bay, visit Pinetree Line web site – http://www.pinetreeline.org.

Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Frobisher Bay:

Frobisher Bay Air Base was established in 1942 by the United States Army Air Corps.  An 8600 ft airfield was constructed for their use. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s the base was used by the both the United States and Canada for transportation purposes.

A radar station was built by the United States at Frobisher Bay in 1953 and when he DEW Line was being constructed across the high arctic, Frobisher Bay was a refueling and staging point for aircraft.

The base was closed in 1963 and converted into a civilian airport, originally named the Frobisher Bay Airport. The USAF also departed the airport.

In 1971, a one officer, four man naval air detachment was posted to Frobisher Bay for arctic patrols.

This name of the town was changed to Iqaluit in 1987 and the airport itself was re-named Iqaluit Airport.

Although the airport no longer a military establishment, it does see the occasional military jet.  On 14 August 1996, an RCAF CF-18 Hornet left the runway during takeoff, slid down an embankment and ruptured a fuel pipeline beside the runway.


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