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Distant Early Warning Line

After the Second World War, the Americans became aware that there was a military threat from the Russians, who had established airbases in the Arctic and had the capacity to fly bombers from the high north into the heart of America. To defend against such a possibility, the Americans established a line of radar stations in Alaska called the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, and started construction in 1954 on more radar stations across Canada, about 320 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.

The DEW Line would stretch all the way to Baffin Island, a distance of 4,800 kilometres, with 63 radar sites along the route. The lead company in the construction was Western Electric. Added to the DEW Line was the Mid Canada Line, which was situated along the 55th parallel, and another line called the Pinetree Line. These additional lines were to provide radar surveillance of any intrusion over northern airspace. All three lines were linked and provided a complete picture of air traffic across Canada and into the north.

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