Raytheon Canada has been awarded a 5-year federal contract to operate and maintain the North Warning system, the federal government announced in a new release.

Effective today, the Ottawa-based company will take over the job from Nasittuq, a joint-venture between Atco Structures and Logistics and Pan Arctic Inuit Logistics Corporation, which had held the contract since 2001. 

The North Warning System is made up of 47 unmanned long and short-range radar stations that extend across the North from Labrador to Alaska. In 1985, it replaced the DEW Line, or Distant Early Warning line, established int the 1950s to protect North American from Russian missiles during the Cold War.

The system now supports air surveillance under the North American Aerospace Defence Command.

The Federal government says Raytheon had the lowest bid, and provides the best economic benefits for Inuit.

Inuit content in contract

At least a fifth of the salaries paid through the contract must be for Inuit beneficiaries, and at least three beneficiaries must be full-time supervisors, managers or manager trainees.

There will also be at least one annual conference to train beneficiaries and subcontractors to bid for government projects and contracts.

The Federal government says it consulted with numerous Inuit land claims organizations while developing requirements for the contract.

Raytheon Canada has its headquarters in Ottawa, with other offices in Ontario and Alberta.