Norwegian Air Force flying their F-16 fighters under NATO mission in Iceland this June

Norwegian F-16 jets taxiing to their new temporary home on Keflavik Air Base, Iceland, where they perform NATO peacetime Air Surveillance and Air Policing this month. Photo courtesy Icelandic Coast Guard
Jun 1, 2016

Story based on information provided by the Public Affairs Office of the National Norwegian Joint Headquarters

Norway started a four-week deployment in support of NATO’s mission of Air Surveillance and Interception Capabilities to Meet Iceland’s Peacetime Preparedness Needs (ASIC IPPN) at Keflavik Air Base outside the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik.

Over the month of May the Royal Norwegian Air Force prepared the bulk of the material required for the deployment and airlifted it to Iceland with an advance party. On 30 May, the main detachment was deployed comprised of four F-16 fighter jets and approximately 80 personnel operating and maintaining the aircraft during their NATO mission. The Norwegian detachment also includes military air traffic controllers augmenting the Icelandic Coast Guard Control and Reporting Centre to control the Norwegian F-16s during their flying missions.

Background to the mission

During the Cold War there was a major American military presence at Keflavik Air Base in Iceland. Since early 2008, following the withdrawal of United States forces, NATO has maintained the ASIC IPPN. On a rotational basis, NATO nations provide air surveillance and interception capabilities by typically deploying fighter aircraft to Keflavik airbase. After being certified by Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem, Germany, these jets are used to conduct flying training missions in accordance with NATO requirements. They also provide the necessary degree of training to NATO and Icelandic support personnel to make sure that the Alliance can conduct a full-scale peacetime air policing mission at the shortest possible notice if required.

Expression of Alliance solidarity and readiness

Ten Allies have so far been assigned slots to execute the mission here underlining the Alliance’s common values and resolve. After 2009, 2011 and 2014, this is the fourth time Norwegian fighter jets have executed the NATO mission at Iceland. The tasks they accomplish here are similar to their mission at home in Bodø in northern Norway: ensuring a 24/7 availability of so-called NATO Quick Reaction Alert or QRA fighters prepared to launch in response to unidentified aircraft air incidents near the Icelandic airspace. The ASIC IPPN mission like all of NATO’s Air Policing across the European Allies’ territories is overseen by Headquarters Allied Air Command at Ramstein, Germany.

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