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After certification, Italian Air Force mission-ready for Iceland

KEFLAVIK, Iceland – On Wednesday after the alert launch of an Italian Eurofighter twoship at Keflavik, the Italian Air Force detachment at Keflavik Air Base was declared fully operationally capable, thus attaining the qualification to officially conduct air surveillance and interception missions over Iceland on behalf of NATO. 

During the certification, the unit had to implement standard operating procedures in real-world Air Policing situations. The performance of the whole team was monitored and assess, specifically the response of the pilots in these realistic scenarios.

Colonel Thomas Leibinger, head of the NATO evaluation team from Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany, presented the Italian Detachment Commander, Colonel Emanuele Spigolon, the mission-ready certificate. This officially starts Italy’s Interim Air Policing operation in Iceland.

"I am very proud of the result attained," said Colonnel Spigolon. "In spite of challenging weather conditions, all our team worked hard to achieve the objective of Full Operational Capability."

Last week, the Italian Air Force deployed six Eurofighter jets to Iceland and after conducting familiarisation flights they were ready for the certification. The pilots, air controllers, technical and logistic staff will now ensure air surveillance and interception capabilities over Iceland until the mid-April. The detachment will work with the Icelandic Coast Guard Control and Reporting Centre "Loki", act as standby Air Policing unit and conduct training activities with the Icelandic Coast Guard.

Since early 2008, following the withdrawal of US forces in 2006, NATO has maintained "airborne surveillance and interception capabilities to meet Iceland's peacetime preparedness needs". This peacetime mission conducted by CAOC Uedem, Germany, is an expression of NATO's commitment to Icelandic security.

Story by Italian Air Force Public Affairs Officer, Iceland

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