RAMSTEIN, Germany – In the morning of September 25, 2016, the departure of an advance team marked the beginning of the Czech Air Force deployment to Iceland. The group from 21st Tactical Air Base at Caslav, some 60 kilometres east of the country's Capital Prague, is a precursor team of a 75-strong force that is going to deploy to Keflavík Air Base in Iceland in support of a NATO mission there until early November. While the advance team arrived in Iceland the same day, the deployment of the Gripen jets is scheduled for September 29, 2016.
Under the aegis of the Alliance, the pilots, ground crew and support staff as well as five Czech JAS-39 Gripen fighter aircraft will provide Airborne Surveillance and Interception Capabilities to meet Iceland's Peacetime Preparedness Needs – or ASIC IPPN – for the third consecutive year. These deployments are a visible expression of NATO's commitment to Iceland's security and an expression of shared responsibilities, values and unity.
In total this is the fifth deployment of Czech Gripen fighter jets in support of NATO Air Policing abroad. In 2009 and 2012, they protected the airspace over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania leading NATO's Baltic Air Policing there, and in 2014 and 2015, they successfully conducted the Allied mission in Iceland. Simultaneously, the Czech Air Force has continued to maintain the security of the airspace at home.
Since May 2008 the ASIC IPPN mission usually involves deployments (typically of around three to four weeks, three times a year) of fighter aircraft from Allied nations. These aircraft familiarise with the airspace in the High North and are certified by Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Uedem, Germany, to execute the NATO mission here to ensure the Alliance can conduct full-scale peacetime air policing activities at the shortest possible notice if required by real world events.
Read more about NATO's peacetime mission of Air Policing here
Story by AIRCOM Public Affairs Office based on information provided by Maxim Svancara, Czech Air Force